Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York will look to defend its
MLS Supporters' Shield in 2014, starting with its trip to BC Place to face
Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
New York's Supporters' Shield triumph in 2013 was its first piece of major
silverware in club history.
And the Red Bulls are well-positioned to add to their trophy cabinet after
making minimal changes to a squad that helped the club finish atop the overall
MLS table last term.
"It's been almost a cliche about the New York organization over the years
having an overhaul in the offseason, and that's something I want to get away
from," Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke told the club's official website. "We
have good chemistry and a good returning core. There's no reason to mix it up
just for the sake of it."
Petke, entering his second year as a head coach, likely won't have star player
Thierry Henry at his disposal for the opener given the Frenchman's disdain for
playing on artificial surfaces. The Red Bulls also may be without Tim Cahill
after the midfielder featured for Australia in midweek international action.
That bodes well for the Whitecaps, some questions to answer as there is a
major void left to fill in front of goal.
Last season saw the 'Caps hit a tailspin down the stretch, costing the club a
playoff spot as well as then-manager Martin Rennie his job en route to a
13-12-9 record for seventh place in the West.
Diminutive forward Camilo Sanvezzo emerged as an offensive force for the
Whitecaps as he finished with 22 goals and won the Golden Boot for the
league's highest scorer.
The team looked to have found a player to build around for the future, but
Camilo's tenure in the great Northwest ended strangely this offseason when the
Brazilian starlet forced his way out amidst controversy and was eventually
transferred to Mexican club Queretaro.
With Camilo gone, the biggest question for Vancouver this season is how the
club is going to replace the Brazilian's outstanding offensive production.
The best candidates to take up Camilo's mantle at the top of the formation are
Jamaican international Darren Mattocks, second-year player Kekuta Manneh, and
newly-acquired youngster Matias Laba.
Also new in the fold this season is head coach Carl Robinson, who previously
served as an assistant coach to Rennie.
Robinson's status as a head-coaching novice, paired with the uncertainty of
where goals will come from on a regular basis, leaves plenty of questions left
for the Whitecaps to answer this season.
The Sports Network