Five Thoughts on the New York Soccer Weekend

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

TIME TO MAKE SOME MOVES

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

One week, the New York Red Bulls look unstoppable; a well-oiled juggernaut fit to destroy anything in its path.

Then they have runs like their recent three match winless streak; lost at goal, meandering at midfield, timid in attack and distracted at the backline.

You can chalk their recent form to a congested schedule. That is definitely at the root of their issues. But if you look at this club as a whole, they can be defined by one word: streaky. Through their first seven matches, they were 1-6. Their next eight? 6-1-1. Now? They are 0-2-1 in their past three. And with the hot summer months ahead, those tired legs will only get heavier for the Harrison boys.

Now think back to that initial losing run. What helped turn that tide? In short — an impact signing. Aurelien Collin shored up a tattered and torn defense, helping New York realize its full potential.

But signings aren’t the only motivator. Sometimes, cutting the fat can go a long way as well, and there are several pieces within the Red Bulls that simply are not living up to their paycheck. Yes, the Red Bulls can stand pat and wait for the fixture congestion to pass to better analyze their direction. In many ways, that still may be the right move to make — the more composed approach if you will.

But if I am in Ali Curtis’ shoes, I start to make a statement – whether through signings or roster cuts. Players like Bradley Wright-Phillips deserve more than having to wait for an Anatole Abang to find himself — no matter how promising he is. This team is beyond another Supporters’ Shield. This year, it is MLS Cup or bust. And as I’ve argued before, adding veteran talent does not necessarily mean ending the Homegrown era. In fact, it can only enhance it by bringing in more valuable examples for the youth to learn from.

Change doesn’t have to be drastic. It can be contained and calculated and still produce the desired effect. But if Curtis and the Red Bulls decide to forgo their market opportunities altogether, they will be doing themselves — and the team — a disservice.

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