As the season approaches, there is a good feeling around the Red Bull Arena.
The new stadium has finally arrived, they have a new manager in Hans Backe and astute additions, have lead to the worst team from last season, looking like they could be championship contenders this season.
Lets start with the stadium, opened on Saturday night with a friendly against Santos of Brazil.
The first soccer specific stadium built in the US, Red Bull Arena is as European as a new stadium can be.
Holding 25,000, it is the perfect size for a sport trying to break-through in North America.
It is things like this that will benefit MLS in the future, the more stadiums built to this standard the stronger the league will become. Bigger crowds, better atmosphere and the quality of the pitches will lead to many improvements.
The biggest improvement though, would be the quality of players entering the league, if big names see a thriving league, and full stadiums there decision to cross the Atlantic could be made easier.
Next we have the new manager. Hans Backe, the Swede was appointed manager for the new season.
He brings good experience, after managing in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Greece, and England. Throw into that spells as assistant to Sven Goran Eriksson at Manchester City, and the Mexican national team.
His knowledge of European football, in particular Scandinavian will be a positive for the Red Bull side.
The possibility of bringing in Scandinavians to bolster the squad is a good one to have.
So lets take a look at the new signings and the draft picks.
Midfield was obviously a point of concern in the pre-season. Three key additions have come into the club.
Joel Lindpere, a left sided midfielder by trade, Lindpere has found himself playing in central midfield in the pre-season. A position he has played in the past. His creative play maybe the reason he plays in the middle for Red Bull.
Carl Robinson, the Welsh veteran could prove to be the signing of the season. Twice named MVP at Toronto, his experience and holding midfield ability will add so much to the New York midfield.
Tony Tchani, a first round pick for New York (2nd overall), Tchani is expected to make a contribution this season. Stamina is one of his biggest attributes, he could be a good reserve for the Robinson in some games.
Roy Muller, Costa Rican left-back has also been acquired. His arrival will give a balance to the back-line, something that was missing last season.
Out of the other draft picks, Tim Ream a tall center-half out of St Louis has impressed his new manager. So much so, that Backe sees him as a starter along New York legend Mike Petke.
The others Irving Garcia, Conor Chinn, and Austin da Luz have impressed sufficiently enough in pre-season, but are players for the future.
Add all these players to the likes of Seth Stammler, Juan Pablo Angel, Chris Albright, and Petke and you have the makings of a very good MLS side.
So what should we look for from New York this season, well they will be organized, balanced, and play some good football. Backe will instill a confidence in the team.
The experience of Robinson, Angel, and Petke will push the Red Bulls into a play-off place.
If Backe can work with some of the youngsters and push them on who knows how far this side can go.
What a difference an off-season makes, no more Giants Stadium, no more worst record in the league.
But they can look forward to a new stadium, new manager and a solid squad. The future is bright in the city of dreams.
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