Tag Archive | "hans backe"

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Tim Ream: Everybody's All American

Posted on 07 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Tim Ream in the Chicago game ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Former Saint Louis University All American Tim Ream is fast becoming a crowd favorite and media darling. Just the third player taken by the New York Red Bulls in the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Ream has established himself as a starter on Hans Backe’s squad and attracted praise at virtually every turn. ASN spoke to Ream after the Red Bull Arena grand opening and found him humble and mature–an impression shared by BigAppleSoccer in their profile of the 22-year old published today.

Ream’s teammates are more outspoken, however.

“Tim is an unbelievable talent,” says Mike Petke, Ream’s partner in the Red Bulls’ central defense. “The course he’s on right now, what I tell him every day, if he continues to develop the way he is, if he continues to listen, if he continues to want to learn–the sky’s the limit for him.”

Others are willing to offer more specific predictions of Ream’s trajectory.
“I can see him in the national team within two years maximum,” says goalkeeper Bouna Condoul. “That type of player–physical and technically he has everything–if he’s capable of continuing like this, soon you’ll see him in the national team.”

The team’s head coach shares Condoul’s prediction. “I’ve said the whole preseason, this must be a player for the U.S. national team in a couple of years,” says Hans Backe.

“His vision of the game tells you this guy’s going to be something,” adds Condoul. “He can read the game, he can tackle, he can run.”

Pretty effusive praise for a player few knew much–or anything–about coming into preseason. “I had never heard of him,” Petke admits. “I remind him of that every day.”

But Petke also voiced a word of caution. “The moment he thinks he’s arrived, the moment his head gets filled with stuff is when he’s going to follow the route a lot of [highly touted] rookies had.”

No worries on that end so far.

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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 05 April 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN’s newest feature constitutes a critical look back at the last New York Red Bulls match. In this case: Saturday’s 1-0 win at Seattle Sounders FC.

A quick 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.

Ready? Here we go!

The good, the dead, the red, the dead: Week 2

The Good:

Kandji got the game-winner and did well Saturday ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Believe it or not, the team’s attack. Passing was crisper, runs were better and set pieces were a lot more elaborate. You could tell this had been the focus of the previous week’s practices. The Red Bulls dominated the first 20 minutes of play and Macoumba Kandji’s goal was the just reward. Speaking of Mac, he looked much more comfortable than he did against Chicago. As much as we all want him to be a traditional striker, perhaps Kandji’s best role is as a withdrawn forward.

Roy Miller had a strong game, particularly in the second half when he shut his part of the field down.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic also played well, some early jitters notwithstanding.

The bad:
The defense and goalkeeping. Yes, we are picking on this even though the team “pitched a shutout” as it were. The marking was pretty weak and the defense seemed disorganized. Sounders players had way too much space and were at times completely unmarked (see Ljungberg, Freddie late in the second half). The passing in the defensive third was not always precise either.

Also what’s with the new coaching staff not using all their subs? Especially in close games? Isn’t that just asking for trouble? Richie Williams should have gone to his bench far, far earlier on Saturday.

The red
Bouna Condoul’s play away from his line is going to give some Red Bulls fan a heart attack before too long.

Juan Pablo Angel. Second game in a row he has been almost completely absent (other than to complain about bad or insufficient service). Are we witnessing the twilight of his career?

Jeremy Hall at right back is begging to get exploited by a smart coach or skilled left wing.

Hans Backe’s health. Or should we say “health”? Call us paranoid, but it simply doesn’t make much sense for a head coach to miss a game for an upset stomach. Either his health is worse than the team is letting on, or Backe is entertaining offers to join his old boss Sven-Goran Eriksson on the Ivory Coast national team.

Overconfidence by fans, players and press. Obviously ASN does not fall in this category (if anything we’re overly negative. It’s a dirty job but somebody needs to do it). But already message boards are aflutter with talk of playoffs and conference championships. Unfortunately, the situation in March-April 2010 is only slightly different from where the team found itself in November 2008, when a strong showing at Houston and lucky win at Real Salt Lake gave it an unexpected berth in the MLS Cup final. We’re not saying a 2009-type meltdown is in store (the home advantage provided by Red Bull Arena alone will simply not allow it) just that we should all take the advice of Harvey Keitel’s character in Pulp Fiction: to not get ahead of ourselves (that’s a paraphrase).

The dead
It may be a bit premature considering it’s just the second game of the season, but Dane Richards really doesn’t seem to have the skills or wherewithal to play in MLS. Actually, scratch that; it’s not premature. This is Richards’ fourth season, which constitutes more chances than anybody else gets in a lifetime. R.I.P. Dane. Yeah he’ll pull something out of his hat on choice occasions (as he did vs. Santos or in the 2008 postseason) but those moments are too few and too far between. With a $200K-plus salary he needs to be a faster learner. Cut him loose and use the cash on somebody else.

Jens Lehmann to RBNY rumors. Please end them once and for all. Even though this team could use another keeper (or two?) a 40-year old German has-been with anger control issues (or something) is not the answer, even for part of a season. There is an abundance of U.S. talent at the goalkeeper position. Bring some of those guys in and give them a chance if they show promise with the “reserves” (quotation marks due to the fact that they do not officially exist, at least not yet).

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A road win! Bulls shut out Sounders, 1-0

Posted on 04 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Macoumba Kandji ©Scott Marsh/ASN

So far in 2010 the New York Red Bulls have raised the curtain on their new ground, laid to rest a “curse” that haunted the team for close to two years, won their first two games while not surrendering a goal in the process. Suffice it to say the Red Bull Arena era is off to a flying start. Tonight in Seattle, the team got an early goal from Macoumba Kandji and held on through some hair-raising moments to survive with a 1-0 win, just as they did against Chicago in the season opener.

Joel Lindpere discussed the game with reporters shortly after the final whistle. Give it a listen.

Other than that, there were numerous differences between tonight’s win at Qwest Field and last week’s at Red Bull Arena. Where the team’s defense impressed against Chicago, it was the Red Bulls’ attacking game that stood out against Seattle. Conversely, while its offense was almost completely stagnant in the season opener, its defense (and goalkeeping) was caught flat footed on more than just a few occasions in Week Two. Even the team’s coach was different: Richie Williams took the reins from Hans Backe, who watched from the hotel on doctor’s orders. The Swedish coach is expected to be back in charge next week at Chivas USA.

Tonight, New York got lucky. How many times will you see Freddie Ljungberg miss a header from point blank range, the way he did in the second half? How many mishandled crosses can Bouna Condoul get away with before the ball ends up in the back of his net?

For now, the team and its fans will gladly take the six points from two games. And winning at Seattle is particularly enjoyable after the season-opening meltdown one year ago. Then it was “Same ol’ Metro.” Now? Something more like “who are these guys?” And “break out the Red Bulls!”

Much more to follow, as we weave in reportage and photos from the ASN crew in Seattle. For now, here are the New York Red Bulls player ratings. Be sure to supply a grade and back up your assessment in the comment area at the bottom of the page.

Player Ratings

From 1-0 with 10 being highest:

Condoul – 5
Some stellar saves in the second half but man, this guy is a total liability on crosses. Very nearly cost the team several times.

Hall – 6
Several mistakes in the early going. Was beaten by his man a number of times in the first half as well. Did better in the second, even launching a few forays into the Sounders half.

Petke – 6
Caught out of position several times but there were several others where he was positioned perfectly. Still, the Sounders had way too many chances to warrant a higher grade at this point.

Ream – 6.5
Like Hall, he made a jittery start with a number of turnovers. Recovered and had some nice long balls to the forwards but eek, this was hairy.

Miller – 7
Spotted just one mistake in the first half, when an errant pass led to a Sounders chance. Was a rock in the second, however. Dispossessed Ljungberg a few times in the attacking third and locked down his part of the field, where the action was hotter in the late stages of the game.

Richards – 5
Better than the Chicago game, but not much. Did play a few nice balls into space in the early stages of the match, but most attacks still ended with him putting his head down and going nowhere. And how about that miss late in the game? This is the second time in as many games he was involved with what should have been the insurance goal. Against Chicago he teed off from a tight angle instead of slotting the ball to Angel. Here he blasted a perfect sitter (great service from Borman via Kandji by the way) over the bar.

Stammler – 6
Solid, not spectacular, which is what the holding midfielder is supposed to be. Turned the ball over a few too many times for my liking and was a bit quiet. But it’s his first game back. Something to build on.

Lindpere – 7
Did his part launching attacks in the first half. In the second his role was obviously more defensive, which makes sense with a 1-0 lead. And he did that well also. A stabilizing influence on the team overall.

Ubiparipovic – 6.5
Did well in the later stages of the game but was too sloppy in the first half to deserve a better grade. Still, a very high workrate on the left wing. Perhaps too high? Maybe his energy could be used more efficiently?

Angel – 5
Another disappointing performance. Complained a lot about bad, or nonexistent service, but did nothing with the chances that were provided (mainly from Kandji). Still doesn’t seem completely comfortable in the offense and not sure if tracking back the way he does is working. Also appears tentative, presumably due to injury. Don’t think it would have hurt to sit him for this game. As it turns out it didn’t hurt to start him either.

Kandji – 8
If I didn’t know better I’d almost think he read and took to heart last week’s rating, when I wrote “Mac needs to lighten up on the stepovers and backheels and go back to fundamentals. Make runs, move the ball…” He did exactly that and the result was an entirely different attacking game for the Red Bulls. Scoring the winning goal was nice enough; he did well to find a spot and then position his body to deposit the ball in the roof of the net when it bounced his way. Better still were some of his passes, particularly in the second half; the one to Borman should have resulted in the second goal but went wanting (see Richards, Dane). Kandji just seems more comfortable in a withdrawn forward role, hopefully he’ll see more opportunities in this position.

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Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 1, Seattle Sounders FC 0
April 3, 2010 –Qwest Field; Seattle, WA
Attendance: 36,066

Scoring Summary:
NY: Kandji 1 (unassisted) 21’

Disciplinary Summary:
SEA: Ljungberg (caution) 10’
NY: Petke (caution) 35’
NY: Kandji (caution) 62’
SEA: Riley (caution) 63’

Lineups:
New York Red Bulls (2-0-0) – Bouna Coundoul (GK), Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Mike Petke, Jeremy Hall, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Danleigh Borman 79’), Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler, Dane Richards, Macoumba Kandji (Conor Chinn 89’), Juan Pablo Angel

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Austin da Luz, Juan Agudelo, Tony Tchani

Seattle Sounders FC (1-1-0) – Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez (David Estrada, 83′), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 76’), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Roger Levesque (Pat Noonan 56’), Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero

Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis

Officials:
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Darren Clark, Hector Vergara
4th Referee: Tyler Ploeger

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What awaits the Sounders tonight

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

For the New York Red Bulls 2009 had to be disappointing. As runners up for the MLS Cup in 2008 they were expected to compete for a championship again. The Red Bulls came into Seattle as a team to beat and left as a study in moppishness. By any measure the Red Bulls tanked last season. Lowest point total in the league. Fewest goals scored.

The other side of that argument is that the Red Bulls were never really that good in the first place. Lowest point total for MLS 2008 playoff teams and the worst Goals Against of any playoff team. They were fortunate to wind up in the final and it may have been too optimistic to place them among the elite in the league. There has been a lot of discussion with a similar theme, “new stadium, new coach, new players, new team,” but who are these “new” Red Bulls?

Hans Backe has been brought in as head coach; he’s a newcomer to MLS, but has a lot of experience in “lower” European leagues and has won championships. Joel Lindpere has certainly been a noteworthy and productive midfielder so far, but it is still only one match into the season. Juan Pablo Angel is apparently still getting fit from his knee injury and may not be the player that he once was. Winning can cover any number of sins and shortcomings. When you lose everything is under a microscope. The win against the Chicago Fire doesn’t really prove anything for the Red Bulls, let’s see how they do away from their new stadium.

As for the Sounders everything seems to be lining up favorably. Ljungberg seemed to do whatever he wanted on the pitch, the only way that the Union seemed able to contain him by fouling him repeatedly. James Riley will be returning from a one-match suspension and will likely get the start tonight. Riley may not be the best defender in MLS but he doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes and he gets forward very well and had a career high in assists (and games) in 2009. The Sounders are definitely better with Riley on the pitch.

Key Matchups

Steve Zakuani – Jeremy Hall
Zakuani beat the Union defenders like a pack of rented mules. Zakuani could be one of the fastest wings in MLS and was instrumental in creating a goal for Evans and left a sitter for Roger Levesque that went into the North End stands.
Advantage SOUNDERS

Brad Evans – Joel Lindpere

Lindpere’s goal against the Chicago Fire was a very decent volley, the setup wasn’t all that great, it just kind of bounced to him and he got a shot. Lindpere is not the kind of player you can allow to shoot. He doesn’t need much space to get his shot off. Evans is a good midfielder, and a decent defender, should match up well with Lindpere physically. If Evans can keep Lindpere contained and keep him off of his goal pace it will be considered a successful outing.
Advantage EVEN

Questions:

Will Freddie Ljungberg start?
He’s been in training and is available for today’s match, but is a game time decision after due to heavy bruising from the Union.
LIKELY YES

Who starts on the right wing for Sounders FC Roger Levesque or Sanna Nyassi?
Levesque missed a couple of opportunities to score against the Union, but at least he had a chance to score and it didn’t hurt his team’s result. Sanna Nyassi looked good with the ball on his foot, which is a big improvement from last season, and was also able to use his speed to his advantage. Nyassi was trigger happy coming on and had a couple of shots where he had players open. Nyassi is also as fast as he is undersized. Nyassi could be more vulnerable to getting knocked off the ball.
TOSSUP (but look for both of them to play no matter who starts)

PREDICTION
2-0 Sounders, another clean sheet for Man of the Match Kasey Keller and deja vu for the Red Bulls.

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Chicago Fire postgame press conference audio

Posted on 27 March 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN is rolling out a new feature in select cities, an audio recording of the home coach’s post match press conference. Here Hans Backe discusses the New York Red Bulls’ first official game (and first win) of the 2010 season immediately after the team’s tense 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire March 27. This is the very first edition of this feature so please bear with us if it doesn’t work perfectly (or at all). If there is demand we’ll try to get this on itunes or something.

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Backe says nine of 11 starters decided and more from media day

Posted on 17 March 2010 by ASN Staff

New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe today said he had decided on all but two starters for the March 27 opening day match against the Chicago Fire. “I would say I have nine out of 11 [starters] in my head for the Chicago game,” he told ASN. He declined to provide specifics but did effectively rule out a few possibilities.

Carl Robinson “is close to being a starter–yeah definitely.”

Tony Tchani “not probably as a starter–but he’s rather close,” said Backe. “He’s improving all the time I would say. I think the youngsters haven’t been through a preseason like this so they’re rather tired.”

Conor Chinn, “he’s good for goals. He’s always in the box. He’s a very brave striker.” But probably not as a starter either.

The team will in all likelihood play a 4-4-2 formation, Backe said. The Red Bulls are unlikely to cut any more players before opening day. “I think we are 21 players, so we are close…we have perhaps one or two players on the injured list if you look at [Chris] Albright and Kevin Goldthwaite.”

Ibrahim Salou is not signed. “He is just here for trial. He will play on Saturday against Santos and I will take a decision after that.” There are no other trialists on the team.

John Agudelo “is in the squad for us and I don’t know if they have signed the contract yet–but I think they will.”

Strike talks

Labor talks were a particularly popular discussion point, as might be expected. Players were extremely tight-lipped and did not provide any new information, preferring to defer to the team’s union representative, John Wolyniec. When cornered by reporters, Wolyniec tried to say as little as possible in as quiet a tone as possible, as evidenced in this video:

Be sure to view the other videos from media day.

Speaking to ASN later, he did reiterate the union’s resolve on the matter. “We’re pretty united–we’ve been talking about this for a long time,” he said. “There are certain issues that we really need to resolve as far as players’ rights go. We don’t think we’re asking for anything unreasonable. Hopefully we can get that done.”

Just in case there was any doubt, Wolyniec ruled out any possibility of kicking off the 2010 campaign without a new collective bargaining agreement. “We will not start the season without it,” he said.

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Photo gallery: Media day

Posted on 17 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Keith Furman and First Row Photos were kind enough to supply ASN with a bevy of photographs from the New York Red Bulls 2010 media day event. Here are just a tiny sample of our favorites, complete with snarky commentary (by ASN). For more media day coverage check the videos we supplied as well as this story.

All photos ©Keith Furman / First Row Photos

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Backe bloodletting picks up speed with four cuts

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

It took a little while but the New York Red Bulls new head coach has begun to flash the paring knife. Hans Backe took a major stride toward ridding himself from some of the baggage of the previous regime today, showing the door to four players, one of whom played a major role in the team’s surprising run to the MLS Cup final in 2008.
Red Bull New York announced it had waived goalkeeper Danny Cepero and defenders Carlos Johnson and Walter Garcia. The team also did not pick up midfielder Matthew Mbuta’s option.

Cepero will be missed by the team's fans ©Juila Harper/ASN

The biggest surprise is probably Cepero. The 24-year old was with the Red Bulls for three seasons after being drafted in the fourth round (46th overall) in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft by then head coach Bruce Arena. The University of Pennsylvania graduate is perhaps best known for becoming the first goalkeeper in MLS history to score from the field of play, in an October 2008 victory over the Columbus Crew. Cepero was stellar in the playoffs that year and was a major reason the Red Bulls made it to the final. Last year was a bit of a different story. He made 13 starts for New York in 2009, earning a 1.74 goals against average and a 2-8-3 record. But Cepero was still seen as a serviceable goalkeeper and was extremely popular with fans.

Johnson joined the Red Bulls from Norway’s Bryne FK before the start of the MLS season in March and appeared in 13 matches, tallying one assist. The Costa Rican was very much a Juan Carlos Osorio product: Latin, physical, defender but despite a horrendous start to his MLS career was not the biggest bust of the Osorio era (that honor probably goes to Juan Pietravallo). At the end of last season Johnson had begun to play much better and showed promise as a MLS pro.

Mbuta completed his first full season with New York after signing on Sept. 15, 2008. He was previously part of the Crystal Palace Baltimore side that upset the Red Bulls in the 2008 U.S. Open Cup. Mbuta scored twice in 12 appearances as a Red Bull. For whatever reason the Cameroonian winger never got much of a chance with the team, despite a few impressive performances, including a home loss to the Colorado Rapids where he earned strong praise from ASN’s pundit.

The departure of Garcia is a mere formality as the Argentine appeared in just one game for the Red Bulls after being signed from Quilmes Atletico Club last year and left as soon as the season was over. The 25-year old completed a loan spell at Leeds United after the end of the MLS regular season.

The cuts of course beg the question who the team will sign as replacements. Expect New York to sign goalkeeper Greg Sutton, who accompanied the team to its training camp in La Manga, Spain, to a more formal contract. Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere is reportedly incoming but the departure of Johnson leaves a hole at right back. Or perhaps that’s where Roy Miller will play?

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RBNY hire former Sven Goran Ericksson assistant Hans Backe as head coach

Posted on 07 January 2010 by ASN Staff

Red Bull New York announced today, Jan. 7, that it has named Hans Backe as the club’s new head coach. The 57-year-old Swede is best known as Sven Goran Ericksson’s assistant at Manchester City and with the Mexican national team. He joins the Red Bulls after a short stint with English League Two side, Notts County.

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Backe will retain assistant coach Richie Williams and goalkeeper coach Des McAleenan for his staff. Jeremy Holsopple will also join the staff as the team’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. The Red Bulls will introduce Backe to the local media at a later date.

“I am extremely excited to join the Red Bulls,” Backe said in a statement released by the team. “It is evident with the stadium and the resources available that Red Bull is very committed to making this club the best in Major League Soccer. I hope that I can bring my expertise to the club and build a winning squad for our supporters.”

Backe captured four Danish titles with FC Copenhagen (2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04) and Aalborg BK (1998-99). He also won the Danish Cup in 2004 and the Danish Super Cup in 2001 and 2004 with Copenhagen. Backe was with Aalborg from 1998-2000 and headed Copenhagen from 2001-05.

He started his coaching career with Swedish club Djurgardens IF before moving to other Stabek, Hammarby IF, Osters IF and AIK. He has also coached at SV Salzburg and Greek Super League team, Panathinakos.

Before coaching, Backe played professionally for a number of Swedish clubs, including AIK and IF Brommapojkarna. Backe also worked as a soccer analyst and commentator for Swedish TV4 and was an advisor to Osters IF.

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