BRADENTON, FL - January 24 Exhibition match between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution at IMG Academy on January 24, 2024. (Will Vragovic / New York Red Bulls)
BRADENTON, FL – January 24 Exhibition match between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution at IMG Academy on January 24, 2024. (Will Vragovic / New York Red Bulls)

The New York Red Bulls’ preseason is still in the early stages. The team, having only gotten to Florida within the last two weeks, is still getting rust off following the offseason. Two scrimmages have seen RBNY win by a combined score of 9-0

New head coach Sandro Schwarz was positive following Wednesday’s win at IMG Academy.

“We were a team. As a team, we were very good today: in our communication, in our principles. We are satisfied on the day,” Schwarz said.

With things just starting to pick back up things are already starting to develop. Despite no games being streamed by RBNY, fans will be looking out for news and updates. Here are a few storylines to keep track of.

Forward Thinking

As of now, New York’s newest signing is on the board. Emil Forsberg scored an early penalty kick against the New England Revolution for his “first RBNY goal”. Though his first appearance on a scoresheet came last Saturday. He assisted on a first half Dante Vanzeir goal against Florida Gulf Coast University.

Brazilian striker Elias Manoel has netted three goals so far. Two came in the second half against FGCU, while the third was scored versus New England. Forward Julian Hall, who made his MLS debut late last season, has also been around. The 15 year hold has notched a goal and assist through two games.

Two names not being talked about are Lewis Morgan and Corey Burke. The internationals have yet to appear on a preseason roster for RBNY. Morgan, who suffered multiple injury setbacks last season, is likely taking it slow. Reports state is lightly training down in Bradenton, Florida.

Burke meanwhile is difficult to figure out. The Jamaican national team player posted an Instagram story from Florida showing RBNY training from afar. A crying emoji accompanied the image. Whether this is frustration due to injury or with the team itself is unknown.

The potential starting XI, especially up top, has been speculated on by fans for some time. So seeing the pieces produce, even in friendlies, is positive.

Repeat at Coachella

At the end of the day, preseason matches do not matter. But a trophy is a trophy.

The Red Bulls are returning to the Coachella Valley Invitational in mid February. This will be RBNY’s third time participating in the exhibition tournament hosted by the LA Galaxy. In total ten Major League Soccer teams will take part in the event between from February 4 to 17th, RBNY’s opponents include St. Louis City SC, Austin FC, and the Galaxy.

Last year, New York finished the invitational with a perfect record (three wins). While the team played less games than two other participants, it finished top of the table with a perfect 3.00 Points-Per-Game stat. The previous year, LA Galaxy II (reserve team) won the competition using this same metric.

New York will attempt to repeat as Coachella “champions” before heading into the regular season.

Where is the Sporting Director?

Off the field is also just as important as on it. Right now, there are substantial questions surrounding RBNY. Last November head of sport Jochen Schneider held a press conference regarding the state of the team. This came after both head coach Troy Lesesne and head of sport Dennis Hamlett were let go following the team’s postseason exit.

Schneider said there was a simple reality with the team; It was “just not good enough.”. The HoS mentioned the team was going into the offseason planning on making big signings. He also said the club hopes to hire a new head coach and sporting director “by Christmas”.

The team hit the mark on the former, hiring Sandro Schwarz in mid December. But nearing the end of January the sporting director role remains unfilled.

For his part, Schneider explained the director role as being different from his head one. Particularly, he wanted someone who knew Major League Soccer for the job. Someone who was familiar with the league and all its unique aspects. Even if that is still the plan, the clock is ticking. Bringing in a sporting director in the middle of the preseason, or later, reduces what they are able to do for the early season.

That also goes with the fact that the team hasn’t made a lot of “big signings”. Yes, Emil Forsburg is great. But he’s also coming from within the Red Bull organization. Defender Noah Eile is good, but he just so happens to have the same agent as Forsburg. The acquisitions aren’t “outside of the box”.

Time will tell how this develops. Rumors circulated about a current MLS executive being a front runner for the director job. However, those have fizzled out.

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