Tag Archive | "Macoumba Kandji"

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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 12 July 2010 by dkarell

After a long break (for the World Cup of course) The Good, The Bad, The Red and The Dead is back in action! This is the 10th edition of everyone’s favorite column. This week we will be focusing on the 0-0 draw from Red Bull Arena between the Red Bulls and D.C. United.

The Good:

The Red Bulls didn’t lose, and players like Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Joel Lindpere had their moments, and Tim Ream was very solid in the back. Mac Kandji also played 15 minutes in his return from a broken foot that kept him off the field for nearly three months,

And we cant forget about Thursday, when the Red Bulls are set to announce their 2nd DP (probably the worst kept secret in MLS history, Thierry Henry).

The Bad:
The Red Bulls were sloppy all night long in the final third, constantly wasting good buildup play from the midfield by turning the ball over carelessly. The defense was shaky at times, and D.C. had plenty of chances to score in the box, if not for some desperate defending.

The Red:
Something to keep an eye on for sure is if the Red Bulls get a playmaking midfielder with their 3rd DP player, and GM Erik Soler has said he is looking to sign a third DP. In the game, Juan Pablo Angel and Salou Ibrahim
had trouble all match receiving a pass without having to run into the midfield to receive the ball. Joel Lindpere and Seth Stammler were ineffective in spreading the play around on a consistent basis, and the offense sputtered as a result.

The Dead:
Brian Nielsen’s new Mohawk hairdo…..nuff said.
-Dan Karell

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Photo gallery: RBNY take Atlantic Cup

Posted on 11 July 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls scoreless draw with DC United on July 10 at Red Bull Arena.

A few of our favorite shots follow, complete with snarky commentary (by ASN). The full set can be viewed on our Facebook page. If you’re already a fan of our’s on Facebook go directly to the gallery here.

All photos ©Scott Marsh / ASN

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More from Hans Backe post Philly

Posted on 27 April 2010 by ASN Staff

New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe discusses the place of Macoumba Kandji and Brian Nielsen in the squad, his health, in the press conference immediately following the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 victory over Philadelphia Union. It’s a bit hard to hear (apparently Backe’s mic wasn’t working properly). Part I of the press conference is here.

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Kandji out at least 2 months; who gets a chance to step in?

Posted on 21 April 2010 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls announced today, April 21, that midfielder/forward Macoumba Kandji would undergo foot surgery and miss 8-12 weeks. Kandji broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in training April 20 and was due for surgery at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery.

The injury is a blow to the team, as Kandji started all four regular season games this season. He scored the winning goal against Seattle on March 27 in the Red Bulls’ first away win in nearly two years. Otherwise, his performances were mixed. His player ratings were 4.5 for the season opener against the Chicago Fire, 8 for the aforementioned Seattle match, 6 for the loss at Chivas on April 10 and 5.5 for Saturday’s victory over FC Dallas. This works out to an average rating of exactly 6. (Of course the ratings are entirely subjective so take them with a grain of salt if you don’t already. But for what it’s worth, his Metrofanatic.com rating, which is voted on by fans, is 5.6).

The question becomes who should step in to fill the 6’4-sized void left by Mac, who has started at both forward and left midfield this year? Have your say in the poll below. Then read our take below that.

[polldaddy poll=3089745]

ASN’s take:
With the arrival of Salou Ibrahim, Kandji’s days at forward were numbered anyway. While Ibrahim has not impressed in his limited time on the pitch so far, Hans Backe has given every indication he will let the Ghanaian play his way into shape as a starter alongside Juan Pablo Angel.

That leaves left midfield, where Kandji was effectively keeping the spot warm for Brian Nielsen, who is reportedly ready to go against Philadelphia this weekend. If Nielsen isn’t ready, expect Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who has also started at left mid, to get the call against Philadelphia.

So from the looks of it, Kandji was about to be moved to the bench anyway. His presence there will surely be missed, as he can create matchup problems and provide spark as a late game substitute. But with the acquisition of Ibrahim, and the impending arrival of Nielsen, it does not really mean New York is losing a starter.

Who will take Kandji’s role on the bench then? Conor Chinn is the obvious candidate and not just because he’s of a similar stature. But Chinn has dressed for all but the very first game of the season and we expect him to continue to do so in light of today’s news. Kandji’s injury may have bought some time for John Wolyniec. Danleigh Borman will also see increased time and a regular spot in the travel squad if he doesn’t have one already. A player we’d love to see is Austin da Luz, who appears buried on the depth charts. But he should move up with Kandji out. Whether he gets a chance in a game is another matter entirely.

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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 19 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Welcome to the third installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ lucky (yeah it was) win over FC Dallas on Saturday evening. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) see last week’s issue or read the bottom of this page.

The Good:
Luck, fortune, happenstance; whatever you want to call it. The Red Bulls’ changing fate has buried, at least for now, the “same ol’ Metro” talk. Fact is, last year’s team would not have won any of the three games the Red Bulls did this season. It probably wouldn’t have even taken a point. Sometimes, you’d just rather be lucky than good. This team certainly deserves being on the other side of luck ledger after everything it endured the past 14 seasons.

Bouna Condoul. It’s been said before in this space: As a shot-stopper, Condoul is one of the very best in the business. It’s the play away from his line that gets him into trouble. There were a few hairy moments on Saturday night, but these were very limited (which doesn’t make them any less fatal, of course). Condoul also did several things right on crosses. And nobody is downplaying his saves in the second half; these flat-out kept Red Bull in the game. No surprise that he led our player ratings with an unprecedented (for this season at least) 9/10. What’s particularly impressive is that Condoul looked confident almost immediately after making his first big save. You need to have a short memory as a goalkeeper and there was a lot of fear last week that Bouna’s psyche could be damaged from his gaffe against Chivas. Now, the concern is that he’ll be overconfident!

Juan Pablo Angel. He’s still not his full self, but no question he improved vastly over the team’s first three games. You’ve got to give him credit for not only stepping up and taking the second penalty, but also converting it (speaking of short memories). JPA simply has ice in his veins, which is exactly what you want from an elite striker. And Angel is still in that category.

Dane Richards. I’ve been one of Richards’ harshest critics. Just last week I called him “deplorable…simply not starter material” and said he “has no business taking the field with the starting 11.” This week I’m willing to at least back off that a bit. Richards had a good game vs. Dallas. His passing was crisp, his crosses were on target and his defensive work was very commendable. Only a few times did he “pull a Dane” of putting his head down and trying to win a sprint to the byline. It was his cross to Kandji that led to the first penalty and he very nearly assisted on what should have been a goal by Kandji. Obviously, a lot more is going to be required if we can begin to talk about Richards having turned the corner, but at least it’s something to build on.

Joel Lindpere played a stellar match as well. The assist to Angel was a thing of beauty, but he was front and center at other points too, even defensively.

The Bad
The whole backline had a subpar game. Even Tim Ream was beaten on a few plays close to goal. Mike Petke’s turnover led to Dallas’ goal and he nearly caused several others as well. Roy Miller did many things right but was beaten several times by Atiba Harris. It appears this guy is weak in the air.

But the worst one of all was Jeremy Hall–by far. The second-year player just isn’t a defender. He had some good games last season but for whatever reason nothing seems to be clicking in 2010. Time to move him back to a midfield position. Except, with the impending acquisitions of Brian Nielsen and Luke Rodgers, the midfield is becoming increasingly crowded. Once Chris Albright comes back, Hall’s days as a starter may be numbered anyway. At that point he could become buried in the depth charts.

Salou Ibrahim was next to invisible. He had a golden opportunity to open the score off a Roy Miller cross but wasn’t even able to direct it goalward.

The Red
Speaking of days being numbered, Hans Backe said in the postgame press conference that Nielsen could play forward in addition to left wing, which could mean the end of John Wolyniec’s days with the club. Woly didn’t even dress for Saturday’s match.

Kandji may end up following him out the door. He wasn’t terrible against Dallas, but did very little in terms of creating chances for his team. It just looks like there isn’t a natural position for this guy. Or at least not in MLS.

The Dead
Jeremy Hall at right back. Please. End. It. Now.

Mac Kandji at left wing. It’s been tried more than one time. It hasn’t worked.


Explanation of terms
The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

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Photo gallery: RBNY 2, FC Dallas 1

Posted on 18 April 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls 2-1 triumph over FC Dallas April 17 at Red Bull Arena. For more coverage of the FCD match check our player ratings.

A few of our favorite photos follow, complete with snarky commentary (by ASN). The full set can be viewed on our Facebook page. If you’re already a fan of our’s on Facebook go directly to the gallery here.

All photos ©Scott Marsh / ASN

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RBNY 2, FC Dallas 1: Player ratings, man of the match

Posted on 18 April 2010 by ASN Staff

You’ve read the match report and had a morning to reflect on what was a highly improbable New York Red Bulls victory. Now check out the player ratings. All 11 starters are rated, including those who barely registered (you know who you are Salou Ibrahim). The man of the match was easy: Bouna Condoul. We’ll start with him:

Bouna Condoul: 9
If it weren’t for Atiba Harris’ second-half header off the crossbar (Condoul was caught off his line on that play was very nearly punished) there would be little to keep him from a perfect score. Several saves from point-blank range were world class but his play away from his line was greatly improved as well. So were his goal kicks, for that matter. A stellar performance. If he can continue to develop his position (i.e. non shot stopping) play there’s really nothing keeping this guy from becoming one of the great goalkeepers.

Jeremy Hall: 3
A sieve at right back. Hopeless at times against Harris and Heath Pearce and later Eric Avila. His overlapping runs went nowhere (and not because Richards didn’t pass to him. They simply weren’t timed very well). Did not always recover in times from these runs either. A few times this was almost fatal. Bottom line: This guy is a major liability at right back. It took a world class performance from his keeper, and a lot of luck, to keep him from costing the team the game. Next time they won’t be so lucky. When is Chris Albright eligible?

Mike Petke: 5
Way too many mistakes, both in committing turnovers, poor first touches (one of these in fact led to the McCarty goal) and blown defensive assignments. In fairness he had to cover for Hall several times, which could not have been easy. And did well deflecting or clearing a few balls into the box. But overall a disappointing performance. Hopefully it was a one-off.

Tim Ream: 6
Let Cunningham get behind him on a play in the second half that would have been a goal had it not been for Condoul. Also some of those long balls end up going nowhere (though a few are pretty impressive). But very strong at other times. Even covered Petke on some of his mistakes. Isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?

Roy Miller: 6
Generally very strong on both sides of the ball. A steadying influence on defense and skilled at settling the team when it had the ball in its own third. Offensively had many good ideas and well-timed overlapping runs. Should have had an assist in the first half but Ibrahim whiffed on his cross. But it was he who was beaten on Harris’ header off the crossbar and Harris also beat him to a headball later. There’s not really an excuse for that.

Dane Richards: 7
His best game of the regular season by far. Sure there were a few “Dane Richards” moments, but these were by and large limited to the first half. A strong performance defensively; bailed out Hall (who clearly needed the help) a number of times. Had some very good passes into space and even a few terrific crosses, such as the one that led the the Red Bulls first penalty. What’s this? Dane Richards crossing the ball? To effect? Believe it. Of course in the past three years every time Richards looked like he was on the verge of breaking out he relapsed into the Dane Richards of old in the next performance. But something to build on, clearly.

Seth Stammler: 5
Had some nice tackles but when the opposing team attacks and creates as many chances as FC Dallas did in the first 10 minutes you’ve got to look at your defensive midfielder. And where was Stammler, when he should have been providing leadership and a calming influence to the back four? Ball watching a few times, caught out of position at others.

Joel Lindpere: 8
His best game since Chicago. His energy and work rate were terrific. Great play on the equalizer. Wouldn’t be surprised if he led the team in touches. Also helped out a lot defensively with some key tackles.

Macoumba Kandji: 5.5
Did a few things well. His passing was generally strong (it was he who launched Lindpere on the tying goal) with a few glaring exceptions, telegraphing passes etc. On the whole, didn’t do enough and turned the ball over too much. Also had a few chances he should have done better with. Brian Nielsen, whoever he is, is sorely needed.

Salou Ibrahim: 3
If his name wasn’t on the game sheet you wouldn’t know he was in the game at all. Almost completely invisible. Had one solid chance in the first half that was not due to his work (but Roy Miller’s). Hans Backe said he was tired. Whatever it was, he needs to change it, pronto, or there’s no use in starting him. Or playing him at all for that matter.

Juan Pablo Angel: 6.5
Much, much better from the team’s star and I’m not even talking about the goals. His first touch was much better, he seemed to have more energy and better mobility than in the previous three games. The first goal looked easy but it required vast amounts of skill and guile to find the seam in the defense, notice that the goalkeeper was cheating toward one side, and then send the ball into the opposite corner on a one-timer. That’s why this guy gets paid the big bucks and that’s why the team needs him in the lineup even when he’s not at full strength. Also showed nerves of steel on the second penalty. So why doesn’t he get a better rating? Not because of the first penalty; sure, it could have been taken better but Sala really pulled a rabbit out of his hat with the save. The reason is he just isn’t JPA yet; not only is he tentative (though less so) but also wanders around weird parts of the pitch (such as defensive midfield) at strange times. Also he’s still very weak on the ball and this resulted in numerous turnovers, particularly in the first half.

[polldaddy poll=3080418]

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Brian Nielsen move official

Posted on 15 April 2010 by ASN Staff

The move of Vejle midfielder Brian Nielsen to the New York Red Bulls is official, Danish media are reporting (links to awkwardly-worded Google Translate piece).

Update: The team has announced the move as well. “Nielsen will be added to the team’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC),” they said. “He must also pass a team physical. Per club and League policy, specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.”

The left wing’s services are sorely needed by Red Bull, who have received little in the way of attacking service from that side of the field. Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Danleigh Borman and even Macoumba Kandji have been tried at the position, with unsatisfactory results.

Nielsen’s activities off the field are a different question entirely. Much like Hans Backe’s other transfer target, Luke Rodgers, the 23-year old Dane has a history of alleged drinking-related offenses, though (unlike Rodgers) no brushes with the law (that we know of at least). The Danish Extrabladet even appears to refer to Nielsen as a “problem child,” though that may be a glitch in the translation.

The move will go through Red Bull Salzburg, the same Danish outlet reported yesterday.

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Condoul costs Bulls first loss of the season

Posted on 10 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Just like that, the New York Red Bulls’ fast start is history.

Bouna Condoul © Scott Marsh/ASN

It ended in a fashion fans of the team are all too familiar with: on defensive miscues and squandered opportunities. New York goalkeeper Bouna Condoul was the goat this time, scoring an embarrassing own-goal early in the second half. His team never recovered and eventually lost 2-0 at Chivas USA.

Condoul’s gaffe was without doubt the most egregious mishap of the day. But his poor play had plenty of company. The team never really seemed to find its rhythm, though it came close late in both halves. Part of this was due to the play of the hosts, who controlled the possession with patient build-up.
When the visitors did have the ball their only option seemed to be Dane Richards, the fleet but vapid right midfielder. Predictably, these went nowhere. (More on Richards and individual performances in the player ratings below).

Still, the Red Bulls had their opportunities in the first half. Macoumba Kandji had two free headers he should have buried. The first came off of a corner, the second from a terrific cross by Joel Lindpere. The second was probably the visiting team’s best sequence of the entire match. But for the most part, the Red Bulls had few ideas going forward and anyway seemed content to let Chivas control the tempo. This is a perfectly fine tactic on the road against a team in danger of an 0-3 start, and for a little while it even seemed to work. But New York’s defense was porous and Chivas had their chances. Chukwudi Chijindu alone could (and probably should) have scored twice in the first half for the hosts (then again, Kandji should have done the same for the visitors).

The Red Bulls’ luck ran out in the 47th minute. Condoul clearly deserves the blame for the goal, but he is by no means the only guilty party on the play. Start with Jeremy Hall, who gave Chijindu way too much space on the left wing. Hall was expecting the UConn product to go toward the endline but even then was too far away to have any effect. Richards’ run to help Hall was far too late and in his haste Richards didn’t track the trailing player, Jesus Padilla. Seth Stammler, who had a solid game to that point, correctly spotted the danger brewing on the left wing (in the video replay you can see him pointing toward that part of the field) but then failed to cut off Chijindu’s passing lane and was late recovering as a result to challenge Padilla. So Chijindu, an interesting young player but by no means a star in the league, managed to monopolize three Red Bulls players on one play. Mike Petke probably should have done better deflecting the ball upfield or out of bounds, though that is admittedly a bit nitpick-y. And then Condoul did the rest.

Hans Backe, in marked contrast to the team’s first game of the season (and to Richie Williams in the second), went to his bench early. Just seven minutes after the goal he brought on Salou Ibrahim for Seth Stammler. Kandji moved to left midfield with Sinisa Ubiparipovic taking Stammler’s vacant spot at holding mid. The move clearly paid dividends, as Ibrahim had several chances that could (and in one case should) have resulted in goals. But Backe’s second and third substitutions, for Tony Tchani and Conor Chinn, respectively, had little effect. The Red Bulls threw everything forward but lacked the rhythm to develop any real chances the rest of the way. Chivas scored an “insurance goal” in stoppage time, again off of mistakes by several Red Bulls players. Speaking of which, now to the player ratings:

Player ratings

New York Red Bulls players ranked 1-10 with 10 being highest:

Condoul: 2
I’ve been saying for some time that this guy is a liability on corners and crosses. However, I’ve been quick to defend his play as a shot-stopper. So where does this gaffe fit in? Nowhere, really. It was one of those mistakes that can happen in a hair-raising moment of the match. Bouna probably panicked after seeing the ball bounce off the post and was in the unusual situation of having to go toward his line, rather than away from it, to make the save. Remember that goalies are trained to deflect the ball away from goal, so when your back is turned your instincts can get a bit fuzzy. Which is not to make any excuse for the play. Unfortunately it wasn’t even his only mishap of the game. In the first half he hesitated coming off his line and was almost caught in no-man’s land by Jonathan Bornstein. He was poorly positioned on Chivas’ second goal as well.

Hall: 4
Speaking of liabilities, this is the second straight game that Hall was owned on the right side of the pitch. He was almost entirely ineffective as a defensive player and this incompetence had a large result in both goals. He did have a few nice forays into the opposing half though and narrowly missed on a shot in the second half. Perhaps it’s time to end this experiment at right back (which remember was a Juan Carlos Osorio project). Play Hall at right midfield, where his skills will be put to better use.

Petke: 5
Can’t blame him for the first goal, but his misjudgment of a ball (off a goal kick) led in part to the second. His man-marking was a bit lackadaisical as well. Granted his job is not made any easier by having to cover for Hall all the time.

Ream: 6.5
My only critique of Ream at this point is that he needs to make his presence felt more. I know this isn’t his style but he can quickly assume a leadership position on this defense by getting more vocal for example. But that’s light criticism. Did spot some moments where he probably should have marked his man tighter, but this guy is hard to beat one-on-one.

Miller: 7

Shut his side of the field down, again. Was also effective making runs into the opposing half. Would like to see more of this, particularly when the team is down a goal. He seems to link up well with Kandji as well, when Mac plays left mid. Perhaps something for Backe to consider.

Richards: 3
His first few possessions were promising, but he quickly reverted to the Dane Richards of old. He got lucky when a few of his balls were knocked behind for corners in the first half but time and again he was the final stop for Red Bull attacks. This is just frustrating to watch. Worse, Richards did little defensively (see reporting of first goal, above). Another guy I’ve been picking on for awhile, but it’s not without reason. Needs to sit on the bench or better yet, be waived. He’s just not cutting it.

Seth Stammler: 5
Started well but also had his part in the first goal. He did make a few terrific tackles early in the game but should have read that play better.

Joel Lindpere: 6.5
First half was very strong. His cross to Kandji was a thing of beauty. Second half, not so much. Turned the ball over too many times and wasn’t able to launch many attacks, which is his primary duty to this team at this point–especially when they find themselves down a goal. A lot is expected of the Estonian Express after his first two games at Red Bull Arena. So when he even disappoints a little, you feel let down a lot. This isn’t fair, but neither is life.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic: 5
Did far too little at left mid. A few nice plays in the first half and that was about it. Also turned the ball over too many times. A disappointing performance.

Macoumba Kandji: 6
His play in the second half earns him this respectable grade. In the first, he blew two chances. It’s amazing that a guy this tall doesn’t head the ball better. Something to work on in training, no doubt. But Kandji just seems far more comfortable as a withdrawn forward or even attacking midfielder, as his play in the second half justifies. Did well to link up with Salou, who blew his chances.

Juan Pablo Angel: 4
Invisible. Again. It’s very sad to see this, and even tougher to say it, but here goes: Angel needs to be benched for the good of the team. He’s just not bringing it this season. Maybe he will be more effective as a late game substitute? Yes, the team deserves a lot of the blame for not getting him better service, but where are his runs? Most of the time he’s loitering around midfield.

Salou Ibrahim: 4
His entrance into the game immediately made a difference but he should have done much, much better with the chances he had. But this guy’s game appears well suited for MLS. When he begins to start on a regular basis he’ll turn it on, just watch.

Tony Tchani: 4
Did not look at all comfortable and didn’t seem to play the ball properly even once. It’s tough to get your MLS debut in a game and situation of this type, but more is expected of the youngster. He’ll get it together if he sees more time (perhaps for Dane Richards? Or hell, try him out at right back).

[polldaddy poll=3036374]

Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 0, CD Chivas USA 2
April 10, 2010 – The Home Depot Center; Carson, CA
Attendance: 12,597

Scoring Summary:
CHV: Bouna Coundoul (own goal) 47’
CHV: Jesus Padilla 1 (Zach Thornton 1) 91’+

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Mike Petke (caution) 19’
CHV: Jesus Padilla (caution) 90’

Lineups:

New York Red Bulls (2-1-0) – Bouna Coundoul (GK), Roy Miller (Conor Chinn 83’), Tim Ream, Mike Petke, Jeremy Hall, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Tony Tchani 77’), Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler (Salou Ibrahim 54’), Dane Richards, Macoumba Kandji, Juan Pablo Angel

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Danleigh Borman, Carlos Mendes

CD Chivas USA (1-2-0) – Zach Thornton, Ante Jazic (Jesus Padilla 39’), Dario Delgado, Michael Umana, Mariano Trujillo, Jonathan Bornstein, Marcelo Saragosa, Blair Gavin, Sacha Kljestan, Chukwudi Chijindu, Maicon Santos (Maykel Galindo 58’, Michael Lahoud 77’)

Substitutes Not Used: Dan Kennedy, Yamith Cuesta, Justin Braun, Osael Romero

Officials:

Referee: Paul Ward
Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Philippe Briere
4th Referee: Ramon Hernandez

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Question of the week: Do you start Salou Ibrahim?

Posted on 08 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

(The assumption here is that his name is in fact Salou Ibrahim and not Ibrahim Salou, as previously noted.)

Salou Ibrahim in the Red Bull Arena grand opener ©Scott Marsh/ASN

As you’ve probably heard by now the New York Red Bulls newest acquisition has received his visa and is ready to play for the team in an official match. He previously appeared in the Red Bull Arena grand opening match against Santos and the exhibition against Army (speaking of which, the Cadets are the only team to score against New York since the start of the regular season).

Saturday afternoon’s game at Chivas will be the first time that Salou/Ibrahim, Juan Pablo Angel and Macoumba Kandji are fit and available to start. Which means one is either going to need to start on the bench or play out of position. Kandji has seen spot duty at left midfield but with him seeming to find his comfort zone (not to mention scoring the winning goal) in the Seattle Sounders game, does Hans Backe really want to go there? Angel and Salou will not play anywhere but forward. Moving them would be downright Osorioan and those days are (thankfully) in the past. Speaking of which, don’t expect Backe to go with three strikers either. He’s married to the 4-4-2 for the immediate future.

Anyway, have your say on whether Salou/Ibrahim should start the match by voting in this poll:

[polldaddy poll=3024678]

Other things to look out for:
What’s going on with Carl Robinson? Is he healthy and eligible to play? He didn’t make the trip to Seattle but was also absent from the exhibition match against Rutgers, which implies he is not yet recovered from his knee injury.

Will Hans Backe even be healthy enough to make another cross country trip and coach the team?

If Kandji does start at left midfield, where does that leave Sinisa Ubiparipovic? Would he move into the center midfield spot occupied by Seth Stammler in Seattle?

Who travels with the team this week? Last week’s subs were Andrew Boyens, Austin da Luz, Juan Agudelo and Tony Tchani (and obviously Greg Sutton, the only other goalkeeper in the squad). As great as it is to see da Luz on this list, wouldn’t Carlos Mendes or Luke Sassano be better choices? Both are more versatile and can add late game relief at the defensive positions. Speaking of which…

Will Backe or Richie Williams use all three subs for the first time this season? (I have a full rant on this in the upcoming Seeing Red! episode. Stay tuned for that).

Chivas have not looked good at all in the first two games of the season, losses to the Colorado Rapids and the LA Galaxy in the SuperClasico. Their attacking game in particular is very weak. The new coach, Martin Vasquez, was expecting great things from Sacha Kljestan, who does not appear to have what it takes to lead this team–at least not yet. That may develop over the course of the season. It’s not like Kljestan will be traveling with the national team or anything.

That was harsh. But probably also true at this point.

Bottom line with Chivas: The Goats have their backs to the wall after an 0-2 start. They don’t want to go 0-3, least of all under a new head coach. Expect Vasquez to pull out every motivational tool in his arsenal (and then some) to get the team amped for this game. But ultimately, he just doesn’t have enough firepower in his arsenal. The Red Bulls’ defense has looked vulnerable and we do not expect the clean sheet to last. Neither will the winning streak. But the unbeaten streak will.

ASN prediction: Chivas USA 2, RBNY 2

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