Offseason Manifesto

Discussion in 'New York Red Bulls' started by Casper, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    The "Who will return next year" thread addresses this issue a little bit, but I wanted to spur some discussion about the decisions and work to be done by Bob and Nick and the rest of the team over the course of the winter in full detail, breaking down the personnel decisions into four categories: Definite Keepers, Maybe Keepers, Trade Bait, Release or Let Contracts/Loans Expire.

    First off, I believe that Nick and Bob should be retained in their roles. The team improved significantly during this last year, and with progress on the SSS continuing and some positive player development this year, I think the key decision-makers should be retained.

    Now for players:

    Definite Keepers:
    Jonny Walker
    Steve Jolley
    Eddie Pope
    Ricardo Clark
    Eddie Gaven
    Amado Guevara
    Mark Lisi
    Chris Leitch
    Mike Magee
    John Wolyniec
    Mike Nugent
    Jacob LeBlanc

    I doubt many would argue against Walker, Jolley, Pope, Clark, Gaven, Guevara, or Lisi. Leitch became increasingly essential to how the team plays late in the year, and I think he's prominent in the team's thoughts. Magee and Wolyniec are roster and cap friendly, and could serve pretty well as the #2 and #3 or #3 and #4 strikers for the squad next year. Nugent and LeBlanc are fine and cap-friendly, and as long as they remain roster-spot-friendly next year, I'd keep them. If LeBlanc is no longer P-40 in terms of roster space, or if Nuge can no longer be counted as developmental, they move off of this list.

    Maybe Keepers:
    Paul Grafer
    Edgar Bartolomeu
    Tim Regan

    Grafer is a serviceable, cap-friendly backup, though it's certainly possible that a superior replacement is available at the same price. I'd be tempted to keep him for continuity's sake, plus, he's always been a good teammate. Edgar showed flashes and is a versatile performer who can do things other no one else on this team can; keeping him may depend on whether or not we can find a superior Senior International with our cap space (keeping in mind that Guevara is the only SI on my Definite Keepers list). Regan seems to me to be a cap-friendly solid backup defender with the potential to be better than a backup someday.

    Trade Bait:
    Craig Ziadie
    Joey DiGiamarino
    Richie Williams

    All of these guys seemed to have fallen out of the rotation toward season's end. I view Ziadie in particular as a very good player who probably shouldn't be on an MLS bench, so he may be someone that the team could receive value for on the trade market. DiGi had good and bad moments, but I bet other teams might want him. A team with less veteran leadership or a bigger hole in the defensive midfield might want Richie; but I think he makes too much to keep if we're not going to play him. He had a poor year, though, which might hurt his value.

    Release / Let Contracts/Loans Expire:
    Juan Forchetti
    Jose Galvan
    Joe Addo
    Kenny Arena
    Jaime Moreno
    Andrez Juskowiak
    Clint Mathis

    If Forchetti and Galvan can still be counted as TIs next year, I'd be open to trying to retain either, but neither really made their mark as much as we would have hoped. Addo is somewhat expensive and really is a little too duplicative of Pope and Jolley without being as good, although he is at least useful as depth. Kenny should probably spend a season in the A-League, where hopefully he can get playing time and improve.

    Which brings us to Jaime, Andrez, and Clint. Probably $600K of cap space here, which is a huge number versus the $1.7 million cap. Andrez never made his mark, and Jaime just isn't worth the max until he proves himself healthy again (which may never happen.) A change of scenery may really benefit Mathis, and using his salary money to go after another striker, even someone we wind up paying the max, may be the right way to go for the squad. Mathis and Guevara just didn't produce goals; the combination always seemed like it should work, but then just didn't. Painful as it might be, I think we have to take a shot with one or even two entirely new strikers, and work them in with Magee and Wolyniec.

    Amazing that of 4 max / near-max players from early this year (Pope, Howard, Guevara, Mathis, Moreno) that we may be down to two. But the team should have lots of room to bring people in.

    Starting strikers - at least one, maybe two.

    Wing defenders -
    If we keep Leitch, we also need to keep or replace with quality one of Ziadie/DiGi/Edgar. Probably need at least three warm bodies for two starting lineup slots in this category.

    Wing midfield on the left (if Clark is on the right):
    You could go with a centrally-oriented Lisi, or do you give the slot to Edgar. Could be another spot to bring someone in.

    "All this team needs is a stud striker" is almost an axiom of this sport, but that's just about where we are. Our purported stud striker just wasn't, this year.
  2. red&black1

    red&black1 New Member

    Mar 8, 2003
    Kearny NJ
    I agree with most of what u said but i think that Clark needs to be in the middle and not on the right... that is his position. In the few games that Bradley used him on the right wing, Rico would dissapear through out the game and couldn't contribute like he does in the middle.

    What we need for next year is 3 players...
    1> a good/decent left footed left winger. Edgar Bart is an option for that spot. Explosive speed and deft touch. He can concentrate on attacking and we wont have to worry about the mistakes he can make defensively.

    2> a good/decent right winger. Lietch and Ziadie cant cut it for this spot. Gaven is an option but i prefer to see him work out of the middle or up top.
    We need someone with good speed and good crossing ability. Having two good wingers will solve the midfield congestion problems and leave Guevara with tons of space. Guevara will have a field day with two good wingers.

    3> scenario #1: (Mathis stays) a good forward with speed and good first touch to work off of Mathis and Guevara. A Gaven-like player with more experience would be perfect.
    scenario #2: (Mathis walks) a strong forward who can hold the ball up and dump it off for the streaking wingers and/or slashing forward. Good aeriel ability is a must to work well with wingers.

    Three good players for these three positions and whatever other moves need to be made with the return of our core players. This makes for a very good team that is hard to beat and even harder to defend against.
  3. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    Re: Re: Offseason Manifesto

    Good points, though I think now you've got Gaven, Clark, and Guevara all in the middle of the field. If you want Lisi on the bench, and play a 3-5-2, you could do that. Pope, Jolley and Leitch / TBD could be your back three, and Edgar/DiGi and Ziadie could be your wings. With that squad, you'd probably still be looking to upgrade at striker and on both wings.
  4. red&black1

    red&black1 New Member

    Mar 8, 2003
    Kearny NJ
    Re: Re: Re: Offseason Manifesto

    Well i was thinking more of a 4-4-2 with Clark as a def/mid and Guevara as attacking mid. Guevara displays good work ethic for the most part, he can come back and help Clark with defensive work if need be. With 4 defenders in the backfield it might not even be needed and Guevara can concentrate solely on offense. I would like to see Gaven coming off the bench late in a game at midfield or forward positions.. He's a very explosive player and I beleive he can be most effective in these situations making runs at tired defenders.

    Another problem with this years team was lack of squad depth. Having Lisi, Gaven, etc.. on the bench isn't really a bad thing..
  5. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Offseason Manifesto

    If that's your plan, I'd start Gaven on one of the wings. He can beat enough people out there to be dangerous, though he hasn't proven much as a crosser, yet.

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