Red Bulls, Tim Cahill make the right choice by cutting ties

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

EDITORIAL: Forget about waiting for a big money transfer — the New York Red Bulls and Tim Cahill did the right thing for both parties in terminating their relationship today.

The fact is, relations have been frayed between club and player for much of the past year, and there are a myriad of reasons for that situation.

Money was clearly a factor.  Remember, when Cahill came to MLS, he stated his desire to keep competitive while preserving his body for not only the 2014 World Cup, but a dream run at Russia 2018 as well.  At the close of 2013, Cahill was well on his way towards that objective.  Cahill spearheaded the team’s efforts as they surprised the world with a Supporters’ Shield victory in 2013, becoming an instant fan favorite in the process.

With that success in pocket, Cahill saw an opening to renegotiate his contract and extend his stay in New York.  At the time, he was just one-and-a-half years into his two-and-a-half year deal.  An extension would work into his long term international plans and cement his place with the Red Bulls, building upon his stellar 2013 form and accomplishments.

The Red Bulls didn’t quite see things the same way.

Steeped in cost cutting measures, New York balked at a proposed extension, unwilling to entertain a long-term commitment for the soon-to-be 35-year-old striker.  While reports have stated some outlandish numbers being volleyed by the Cahill camp, it is unclear whether those figures are accurate or if a raise was even discussed.  What is known is that Red Bull did not see the benefit of a long-term relationship, and that clearly rankled Cahill, causing a snowball effect that takes us towards today’s decision. Consistent international call-ups tore the converted midfielder from the club and further expanded the rift between both parties.  Once in club uniform, Cahill failed to produce at the level he did internationally, giving the Red Bulls technical staff all the more reason to bench their sour star.

By the close of the season, both parties had enough.  Cahill wasn’t seeing minutes and the Red Bulls grew tired of his presence.  In fact, the very same day EOS reported a rift between Cahill and the Red Bulls over his international commitments, matters came to a head as sources on both sides were predicting an end to the Australian’s time in New York — even as the Red Bulls prepared for their playoff run.

In other words, it was over before it was over.

At the turn of Monday’s announcement, several Red Bull fans questioned motives of the club for allowing Cahill to leave without seeking compensation for the star first. After all, Cahill’s brand is hotter than ever after a stellar World Cup run and an Australian victory at the Asian Cup.  Someone will pay for his services, right?

Well, not exactly. While several teams demonstrated interest in acquiring Cahill, there is no concrete evidence to suggest anyone was willing to pay the Red Bulls for his signature. If there was, why would New York leave money on the table?

They wouldn’t — and didn’t. The fact is, there wasn’t any money to speak of.

With that in mind, Red Bull committed to the next logical move; cutting Cahill while the cutting was good. By releasing him prior to the start of the season, New York will not be subject to a cap hit, further opening up their ability to maneuver in the free agent market this offseason and throughout the year. They also open up another DP slot, which can be used at anytime this season.

Most importantly, however, the team relieves themselves of the last bit of baggage from the Petke regime. With Cahill gone, both Ali Curtis and Jesse Marsch earn a chance to start the season on a clean slate, unhindered by any further and unwanted drama. Meanwhile, Cahill finds the ability to dictate the next course in his highly decorated career.

It’s a win for all involved.

There may not be a windfall of cash heading towards Harrison, but that is OK. By jettisoning their prized star, New York earn something else entirely — a fresh start and the ability to maneuver under a historically-constrictive salary cap.

Considering the circumstances, can there be a better outcome for the club than that?

  • Anonymous

    The big question is, will they search for a dp to fill the slot? They need to if they want to compete with NYCFC and retain the fan base they built. It’s hard to blame fans for defecting; all these changes couldn’t come at a worse time, with NYCFC coming in with a big splash.

    • Anonymous

      lol

  • Sammy the Red Bull

    Anyone who switches allegiance from one team to another because of a bad off season are not real fans anyway, so if you go….don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  • AJ

    This is a joke… Ali Curtis and Jesse Marsch have destroyed this team and any chance of a serious title run in the coming season.

    Look at the facts, the Red Bulls have lost Henry, Cahill, and Petke with the replacement for one of the greatest forwards in the game being a USA player with some champions league experience who didn’t even represent in the World Cup.

    Dietrich Mateschitz has a estimated net worth of $10.5 billion which is on par with that of Roman Abramovich (you know the guy who owns Chelsea). There is serious questions to what a mediocre sports director and hack coach are doing. Giovinco going from Juve to TFC was a joke along with Altidore who both should have ended up at NYRB.

    The quality in the league is increasing. Luyindula was key for us in the playoffs, however he is not on the same level as Kaka at Orlando or Gerrad at LAG (having Houlier who gave Gerrad his first cap is also a waste). Stolz should be decent, and McCarthy a decent player as ever, however these guys couldn’t handle the Championship let alone the Premier League. BWP is our shining star and will be a back bone provided he doesn’t crumble under the expectation of breaking the record this year, however even he is still not on the same level as David Villa who will have the service of Lampard and Mix and against this quality should be able to create some of the magic of his Barca days.

    It’s becoming a joke. This team needs 2 DP’s in a creative midfielder and central defender. A CAM to replace Henry is desperately needed in terms of both creativity and a standard for the team to rally behind who can change the course of a game. A defender to anchor the team and play out from the back will complement the attacking play. However mostly they need to get rid of the back room.

    This is a team with a parent company with 4 billion in revenue (with its other sporting divisions like F1 self sustaining and funding due to the highly lucrative F1 agreements and advertising), quite possibly the best stadium in the league, yet a **** back room with the wrong experience for this type of project and team it’s frustrating and disappointing to see this.

    A real owner listens to the clubs heart and soul. The fans and when your fans have a billboard placed on the Lincon Tunel voicing their anger, you know it’s time to admit you’ve made a mistake.

    • NYsoccerfan

      Respectfully have to disagree. Henry was always going to leave and from early on last season you could see Cahill had other intentions. He became apparent he was clearly chasing the money and wanted out putting some crap Middle East friendlies with the Socceroos ahead of his employer duties.

      As for Petke, as much as I admire his attitude, his understanding of the game was MLS 1.0 and many of the games last season (and even 2013 were painful to watch).

      The team are rebuilding and Sacha was an excellent purchase. They now need a decent center back and a more balanced team approach that will serve this club better in the long run.

      • NYsoccerfan

        I do agree that Jozy, Bradley or Giovinco should have landed at Red Bulls. These are exactly the players they need and the fans want to see.

  • William McCrary

    It is not okay that there is no cash infusion coming to Harrison. The team needs an elite CB and another quality striker. Hell, even The Devils paid their top talent and found cheap role players and Ali Curtis is no Lou Lamoriello.