Previous Year Recap
Red Bull New York fans were able to leave the 2020 season opener with a smile despite it being an apprehensive one. They won 3-2 against bottom of the 2019 table FC Cincinnati. The fans never thought a whole year would pass before they could take in a soccer match while eating empanadas and Dippin’ Dots at our beloved fortress. COVID came in like a lion impacting every aspect of life as we knew it. Sports stopped completely for months. In July, we were able to at least watch our beautiful game again on tv. The MLS is Back tournament provided the Red Bulls a draw that upon first look seemed ok. Atlanta who lost their talisman Josef in their first match of the season and even with him, somehow the boys in red usually figured out ways to beat Atl. Cincinnati, well they were a bottom of the table team anyway so nothing to worry about…or so we thought. The Crew have often been a thorn in the Red Bulls’ side, but it seemed like top two was still a solid bet. In the first game against Atlanta, Florian Valot scored in the fourth minute. Red Bulls fans never thought that would be their only goal of the tournament aside from an own goal against the Crew. Red Bulls lost against the Crew and Cincy beat them 2-0 which brought their time in Florida to an end.
The boys in red ended their season barely making the playoffs. They were sixth of fourteen in the conference, just one spot above expansion team, Nashville. They were 13th overall with a record of 9-5-9. There was plenty of blame to go around, but mostly aimed at the coach, Chris Armas. His inconsistent lineups, unusual substitutions, and seeming lack of motivation to bring in anyone with star power left a sour taste in the mouths of those who miss the days not long ago when the shield was in Harrison, NJ. Chris Armas and assistant coach CJ Brown were sacked in September, but it was already too late. Bradley Carnell filled the interim role until Gerhard Struber was appointed the new head coach in October and continued to do so while he got his international documents in order. Struber only got a chance to debut toward the very end of the season.
Hopefully a fresh season will bring some positive changes and consistency moving forward. Speaking of consistency, so many of the players have moved on and many new, young players have joined the squad. There will be a bit of a learning curve as we get to know these players and the new coach in general and certainly also what they all mean for fantasy.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Goalkeeper: Since Luis Robles moved on to Miami and ultimately retired, it’s been hard to rely on the Red Bulls in terms of goalkeeping points for fantasy. Ryan Meara has been a solid keeper, but one afflicted with injuries in his career. David Jensen hasn’t been a solid fantasy pick either. New to the team is Brazilian keeper Carlos Coronel on loan from RB Salzburg. We will have to keep an eye on this as the season progresses. If they can keep clean sheets, we might find that there are some value picks here, but hold off for now.
Defenders: Most notable player gone from the RB defense is Tim Parker. Aside from Kyle Duncan whose goal scoring made him a descent pick at times last year, I wouldn’t hold my breath in this category just yet. There are too many good options from other teams to provide clean sheets. As the season begins, maybe that will change *fingers crossed*.
Midfielders: The loss of Kaku is probably the biggest fantasy loss for the Red Bulls. Now I’d keep an eye on Florian Valot, Danny Royer, and maybe Caden Clark. Again, we are going to have to see what 11 the new coach throws out and whether he is consistent with it.
Forwards: Brian White and Tom Barlow are still there, but haven’t provided any consistent scoring power throughout the season. Is the coaching to blame? We will find out soon. One to keep our eye on will be the new Brazilian attacker, Fabio Netto.
The Red Bulls aren’t the guys to set and forget in your fantasy lineup. However, there may be end up being some good value options once we get a handle on what the new boss has up his sleeve.