RBNY Optimist: Surviving the Halftime Break


Staff Writer

It was 20 days ago — June 1st, to be exact — when we last saw our boys in Red and White fall rather meekly to Vancouver. It was a strange capper to the long undefeated streak. A little downer in what turned out to be a really positive first half season for the Red Bulls. From the undefeated streak, to the growing confidence in Tim Cahill’s ability to change a game; From the successful navigation of a crowded match schedule (laden with difficult West Coast trips nonetheless), to the demonstration of depth on the roster that we haven’t had before, there were a lot of positives to take from the first half of the the 2013.

So, in a twist that only MLS schedule-makers could comprehend, our season suddenly plunged into suspended animation. Twenty-two days of US Open Cup triumph and misery, trialists, and practice facilities. All the stuff that would normally be a pleasant distraction from our important league schedule became, instead, the main event. We’ve basically been through 22 days of eating side dishes as our main course, and frankly, I’m a little bit nauseous.

In an effort to try to fill the gaping hole of RBNY soccer in my life, I turned my optimistic thoughts toward the US National Men’s and Women’s teams. If not for the friendlies and World Cup qualifiers being played by our senior national teams in the last few weeks, June would have been a miserable wasteland of dreadful MLS Live streams indeed. Instead, we not only got some wonderful soccer action, our optimism was rewarded with some stirring and even surprising performances. Beat Germany? Yup. Nine points from 3 games? Check. Set an all time International scoring record (in Red Bull Arena!)? Thank you very much.

From a National Team perspective, it’s been a wonderful ride these last few weeks, and we can be as optimistic as ever about our prospects going forward as we prepare for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The good news is that the National Team ride is not nearly over. At 2pm today, we can all tune in to watch our U20 Men take on the world in their own World Cup. This team was loads of fun to watch during qualifying, and features some of the biggest up and coming MLS talents (but alas, none from RBNY…). If they can reproduce the swashbuckling approach they were able to sustain against their CONCACAF foes, this could be a really fun tournament — but it won’t be easy — having been pulled into what could be termed a “Group of Death” featuring Spain (today’s opener), France and Ghana.

And further down the line, we can also enjoy the CONCACAF Gold Cup, with a US Team that looks like it’s going to feature Stuart Holden, Landon Donovan and others. If there was any justice in the world, those “others” would include Dax McCarty, but I’ll remain justifiably torn on that one, as RBNY can certainly use him on their roster through the rest of the schedule.

Bottom line is that The Optimist survived the extra-long break from Red Bull soccer, but not without some withdrawal issues. There’s been lots of good soccer around to pick up the slack, but am I looking forward to the team destroying the Union on Sunday in front of what may be the largest traveling contingent to ever appear on behalf of our team? Oh, yes. Yes, I am.

Welcome back, boys. Here comes the second half of the season. Enjoy the ride.