2015 MLS season preview: New York Red Bulls
- New head coach Jesse Marsch takes charge in 2015
- Huge overhaul with Henry, Cahill out; Kljestan in
- Can RBNY rule New York as neighbors NYCFC enter the fray?
[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS previews for 2015 ]
Key player: Sacha Kljestan
After spending five years playing for Belgian giants Anderlecht, Kljestan is back on home soil and is ready to lead a new look New York Red Bulls. Returning close to where he played college ball at Seton Hall, Kljestan, 29, played with new RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch (more on him, further down) at Chivas USA back in the day. The U.S. national team midfielder is creative and is perfect in a deep lying playmaker role. You can already see him dovetailing with Dax McCarty to set up chances for Designated Player and MLS goal-machine Bradley Wright-Phillips, Felipe Martins, Lloyd Sam and others. An extremely shrewd pickup by RBNY.
Other names to watch: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Dax McCarty, Felipe Martins
Head coach: Jesse Marsch
Okay, so Jesse Marsch is facing an uphill battle to start with. Not because he’s a bad coach. Far from it. But because he is replacing a man idolized by the RBNY fanbase, Mike Petke. After delivering the club their first-piece of silverware with the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2013, Petke was relieved of his duties as a massive overhaul took place over the offseason with new GM Ali Curtis wielding the axe.
Out went Designated Players Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, in came Marsch and Kljestan. With New York City FC muscling into the Big Apple’s soccer market, Marsch knows his side must be challenging with the big boys in the East right away. Expect a disciplined squad who are capable of grinding out wins.
Outlook for 2015
Marsch will bring stability to the Red Bulls after plenty of changes, and despite losing players of Henry and Cahill’s ability, they still have BWP, Kljestan and several other top talents other clubs around the league would love to have. Expect RBNY to make the postseason once again but the big question mark is around their defense after losing Jamison Olave and Ambroise Oyongo. If they can stay solid, making the playoffs would be deemed a successful season at Red Bull Arena.