November 14, 2012
MY TWO CENTS
Red Bulls need to implement the right system
Pete Falcone is a Red Bulls' season-ticket holder from Hoboken, N.J.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Pete Falcone
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
Now that the 2012 season is over, the newly appointed Red Bulls front office regime can settle in and get to work.
The 2013 MLS SuperDraft is two months away, followed by the January transfer window and then training camp in February. Red Bull fans are very eager to learn what roster moves are going to happen. With Jerome de Bontin coming in as club resident and his recent appointment of Andy Roxburgh as sporting director, the work can begin.
Roxburgh has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have to reshape the roster and make difficult decisions on what players stay and go, he has to hire a manager and assistants.
Fan favorite Mike Petke is the interim manager. If he is given the job full time, great, but if not, I do hope he is kept on as an assistant. Expectations for 2013 will be high as usual and Red Bull expects a winner each year. This is an opportune time for Roxburgh to implement a proper system and playing style for the club and make sure the manager he selects and players he keeps and picks up fit that style. The team is certainly not short on cash, so finding players shouldn't be a problem, just managing it under the salary cap.
Red Bull should learn from my beloved New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. Lamoriello has been the GM for 25 years! In professional sports in America, that's incredible. And how has Lamoriello lasted so long? He implemented a playing style that he wants the team to play and signs players, draft picks and coaches that fit that style. He doesn't go after big name free agents (with the exception of Ilya Kovalchuk) and throw lots of money at them. Rather with good scouting and a great farm program, he has found diamonds in the rough and produces winning seasons, playoff appearances, conference championships and three titles. All with the same system every year.
This is what Red Bull needs; a GM/sporting director who will implement a proper system and find the right coach and players who fit that system. And I quote Herb Brooks, "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right ones."
Departed coach Hans Backe tried to implement a possession style. It faced much criticism because the game is called soccer, not possession and the offense wasn't producing enough results and the defense was porous.
Roxburgh has a real opportunity to bring in something new, something aggressive but also emphasizes defense. Lamoriello's system preaches defense first, pressure the opponents in their end and the offense will follow. He hasn't changed the system in 25 years and the results have shown.
Imagine what Red Bull could do with this type of stability in the front office? They have shown in the past they draft well. Draft picks such as Jozy Altidore, Marvell Wynne, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Mike Magee, Eddie Gaven and Brad Davis have been league all-stars and many have played on the U.S. National Team.
Drafting is something the team does well, but having a system where each player would showcase his skills while serving as a piece of a cohesive unit, the results have been less than consistent and the aforementioned players are all elsewhere.
Think about what the team would like if they were still with the club? I know free agency, the chance to play in Europe, basically money is a large part of the reason, but do not underestimate loyalty to keep playing for a winner.
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