July 14, 2011
A HEAD WILL ROLL
Backe has made a decision on which GK will be cut; could happen as early as Friday
By Michael Lewis
|Bouna Coundoul: "I don't know who is going to be subtracted or not. Me, that's not my business. My business is to be part of the team. I'm going to come help the team as much as possible, any way is possible."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Hans Backe has made a decision on which goalkeeper the Red Bulls will release, but he wasn't saying which one.
The Red Bulls on Wednesday added German veteran keeper Frank Rost, giving them four goalkeepers. Bouna Coundoul and Greg Sutton have been sharing most of the duties this season with Alex Horwath as the No. 3 man.
The Red Bulls coach said he wouldn't name the player.
"No. no. I have to talk to the player first," he said after practice at Montclair State University.
That could happen as early as Friday. It will depend if Rost gets his International Transfer Certificate and his P-1 visa in time.
If the paperwork isn't completed in time for the Chivas USA game on Saturday, Backe said he "would wait, then."
Rost is expected to join and practice with the team on Friday.
Backe did say the decision-making process did not take long.
"Pretty quickly, I would say," he said.
Asked if he felt more comfortable adding a new goalkeeper, Backe replied, I think I've said it every time. It is important to have a central line that is very strong with goalies, center backs, center midfielders and strikers. get more younger players outside in wide areas. So the central line is very, very important."
A number of signs point to Coundoul as being the odd man out.
The club cannot afford to keep four goalkeepers, for financial health and the team's mental healthy because you cannot have three players who feel they can start in goal.
Sutton assumed the starting spot recently. Coundoul, the sacrificial lamb in the team's 4-0 loss in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal elimination to the Chicago Fire, could be in trouble. He wound up in Backe's doghouse by forgoing the first week of pre-season training to play in an international friendly with the Senegal National Team and because he earns $100,000 more than Sutton. That could save money under the MLS salary cap.
According to MLS Players Union figures, Coundoul will earn $178,250 a base salary and a $179,500 guaranteed salary this season. Sutton is at a $75,600 base salary and a $80,000 guaranteed salary, according to the MLSPU.
It is assumed that both goalkeepers' salaries are guaranteed because they were still with the team when the guaranteed salary deadline passed earlier this month.
"I don't know who is going to be subtracted or not," he said. "Me, that's not my business. My business is to be part of the team. I'm going to come help the team as much as possible, any way is possible."
Asked if he thought he may be released, Coundoul responded: "Go talk to the coach and you let me know what his idea is going to be."
When told Backe had made a decision, but won't reveal it yet, Coundoul replied, "Let's wait until the decision comes and we can talk about it."
Coundoul said that he was "feeling good as a player. The coach makes the decision. I cannot say anything more about it. I have to play my part when I step onto the field I do what i have to do."
Both Sutton and Coundoul have been inconsistent this season.
The Senegal international has a 1.00 goals-against average in nine games, with a 3-2-4 record, while Sutton has a 1.50 GAA and a 3-2-5 mark in 10 appearances.
"There's always room to improve as a goalie," Coundoul said. "People know what I am capable of doing. As they say, sometimes the ball bounces your way, sometimes it doesn't bounce. That doesn't stop me from believing in myself, working hard every single day."
Sutton declined to be interviewed.