The Magic Is Gone: Red Bulls’ Petke, Roxburgh mired in ‘sophomore slump’


COMMENTARY – When the New York Red Bulls surprised the world with their unexpected, but hard-earned Supporters’ Shield run last year, it was coach Mike Petke and Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh that were heralded as heroes for the accomplishment.

It is only right, then, that both men take the brunt of responsibility for this year’s failures.

From the start of 2014, the Red Bulls have taken calculated decisions that have come back to haunt them. Whether it is offseason acquisitions or week-to-week management, nothing has panned out quite the way they had hoped. Soaring ideas have become impractical in practice, and now, New York are stuck with a team that is a year older, a year richer and a thousand years from the hungry side that took the league by storm just a few months ago.

The term ‘sophomore slump’ is used to describe the widely recognized phenomenon that sees young players take a precipitous fall off from their rookie year achievements to their second season as pros. The same can apply to the technical staff – and certainly does with both Petke and Roxburgh.

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    Holgersson wasn’t going to “break the bank.” He was going to be paid 200-250k. That’s pretty damn good for a starting CB in MLS who was as consistent and injury free as you can be. Petke didn’t like him and that’s all there is to it.

    • This is very true, Metro. However, he was due a large bonus which would have greatly impacted the Red Bulls cap situation. That was paramount. Still, yes, he wasn’t a Petke player.

      • Anonymous

        How much Dave? 50k more ?Holgerson would have guaranteed at least 9 points alone this year if you look back at the games defense cost us. Bad management, someone told me a long time ago don’t personalize business

  • “Defense became the key word for all players in every position.” If this is true, the season has been an utter failure. The Defensive performance is simply not there.

  • Dan in New York

    Good piece, Dave. You nail it.

  • Andrew

    “There’s something askew, I guess you could say, compared to last year,” he said after Saturday’s loss to the Earthquakes. – As much as it felt like it, it wasn’t a loss.

  • I always had the impression they saved room for a third DP, and if they were going to bring anyone else in, they’d have to sacrifice someone ala Steele. If they really have no cap space left at all, then it has been a pretty bad off-season.

  • Great article Dave

  • scott

    To me it sounds like that RBNY was damned if they did and damned if it didn’t. If the Red Bulls decided to clean house again and failed I wonder what the article would be titled? Just like RSL and Sporting KC, they kept the core of their talent and for many reasons it hasn’t worked out so far. Indeed I’d like to have a winner but cleaning house doesn’t guarantee that.

    • Not saying wholesale changes. Not at all. But more than three role players?