DEPTH: A GIFT AND A CURSE
That would be a novel idea considering how rare it is to have options in this cap-tied league. The fact is, though, that the time for tinkering should be over. The stretch run should be about fortification, not exploration.
For the Red Bulls, there are many options, but few spots to fill. Here is a quick look at the forward situation as an example:
FORWARDS: Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper, Sebastian Le Toux, Tim Cahill
Since joining New York, Backe has looked to wedge Le Toux anywhere he possibly can. Cooper has seen the bench more than once thanks to the tinkering. Cahill featured up top for New York away at DC, adding him to the mix. What will be the final solution.
We spoke about the defense, which still has the ability to go anywhere (much to Backe’s shagrin), but what about the options on the right wing? Lloyd Sam is expecting minutes, Solli has been a mainstay, Barklage will look for minutes anywhere, and even McCarty has featured on the wing. And the middle of the park? Teemu Tainio is back, McCarty has been fantastic, Cahill has tried his hand there, as has Lindpere.
The point is this: ideally in September, you would want a set XI. The Red Bulls simply do not have that. The luxury of riches may come at the cost of chemistry. If the team finds the right pieces just prior to the playoffs and makes a run, they did everything right. If not? It may be another disappointing exit to the golf course.