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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

September 19, 2011
Red Bulls face some serious salary cap issues in 2012

Red Bulls sporting director and GM Erik Soler will face some tough salary cap challenges in 2012.
Red Bulls sporting director and GM Erik Soler will face some tough salary cap challenges in 2012.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

For three days, at least, everything is fine and dandy, in Red Bull land.

They actually won a game that actually counts in the standings and are back in business in their quest for the playoffs as they prepare for Wednesday's home encounter with Real Salt Lake (yes, it is a must-win situation, but that's old news with this team).

Who knows what is going to happen during the stretch run?

One thing is certain: They are going to have to break up this team regardless what transpires over the next month.

Why? Because the Red Bulls' salary cap situation for the 2012 season is in shambles, according to a source close to the MLS club.

"They are in trouble next year," the source said. "They have significant salary cap issues.

Now, how is this possible?

Well, some players are scheduled to receive raises for next season, some others were promised raises, while yet for others, bonuses will kick in.

To get below the cap (this year's cap is $2,675,000), the Red Bulls will be forced to trade or jettison some players prior to next season or perhaps renegotiate a deal or two.

Of course, for most Red Bulls supporters, that's another crisis to worry about for another day.

There is another one that is front and center -- the team trying to scratch and claw its way into the playoffs.

They took an important step by snapping an eight-game winless streak with that ugly 1-0 win at FC Dallas on Saturday.

Quite simply, the Red Bulls need three points, a win, even if it is uglier than the Dallas victory to keep their post-season hopes alive.

If they can't win a on Wednesday and Saturday at home against the expansion Portland Timbers, then planning for 2012 by sporting director and general manager Erik Soler (if he is still running the show) will come a lot sooner for the Red Bulls than we think with that dreaded salary cap sword hanging over the team.
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