August 2, 2012
FOR THE FIELD, NOT THE BRAND
Red Bulls get Cahill to imporve the team, not to sell tickets
By Kristian R. Dyer
|The Red Bulls brought Tim Cahill in for the soccer, not to market the brand.
Photo courtesy of the Red Bulls
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. -- Bringing in a player with the quality and pedigree of Tim Cahill seems like a no-brainer, given the Australian international’s success in the English Premier League. But the unveiling of the Red Bulls third designated player on Monday flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
Not that Cahill is in his prime – he very much still is – but that the Red Bulls would be attracted to the player is the head-scratcher given the two big name designated players on their roster. After rumored dalliances with the likes of Kaka and Michael Ballack, whether true or not may never be known, those big name players seemed more like a typical designated player signing for New York. Either Kaka or Ballack would provide the clout and move the meter for the Red Bulls more in this market than Cahill, who was never a tremendously big name outside of Everton. Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez fit the mold of the big splash move – Cahill doesn’t register the same way.
But this move wasn’t about selling tickets or the “brand,” it was purely on the field.
“I think sometimes people are looking for names,” captain and designated player Thierry Henry said.
“I think Tim Cahill is going to be, don’t get me wrong, you have to let him get into shape and he hasn’t played in a very long time and this is preseason for him actually so – but I think especially here in New York people are going to love how he plays. Committed, gets into your face.”
He isn’t the flashiest of players although he does have a deft touch and carries the ball well up the field; Cahill is the type of player who will quietly make an impact for the team. His signing is the type that can elevate the players around him, and he will be doing that from a central position.
“He brings everything, brings everything. Brings technical skill, brings hard work, very clever player. Active off the ball, runs into the box,” Backe said.
“A complete player.”
Having debuted on Tuesday night in a 2-1 friendly loss to Tottenham, Cahill drew a first half penalty for the home side’s only goal of the match. He clearly made an impression on Henry.
“Tim Cahill is the type of player, you saw a little of what he can do [against Tottenham]. He’s clever. I said after the game, you saw Teemu [Tainio] and Tim not running a lot, just putting themselves where you should be,” Henry said.
“Football is more than running and running up and down without playing the ball. They were putting themselves in the pocket where they knew maybe Tottenham is going to hurt us. That’s what they were doing.”