Alan Koch and company begin a three-game road trip at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. The big news, of course, is that Fanendo Adi has been reinstated. He returned to training Thursday and is available for selection in this match.
How badly does the team miss Tyler Adams? Do current problems stem from his absence or other factors?
I wrote a lengthy article this week chalking up the Red Bulls struggles to the loss of Adams in ways that are expressed outside of the midfield. The answer is, immensely. Adams ferocity and personality were a big part of the 2018 team, and they haven’t figured out how to replace him just yet.
How big of a loss is Kaku right now as he faces an additional two-match suspension?
Kaku’s absence for the next few games is a negative, but don’t overlook that the Red Bulls have not won an MLS game with Kaku on the field in 2019. Not a huge data set to work with. As the Red Bulls are playing a lot of long-ball this season, Kaku’s best attributes have been sort of negated. They will miss him but not as much as they would have at the beginning of last season.
Are Armas and RBNY are looking at Cincinnati, who are struggling also, as a good opportunity to get things moving in the right direction?
I don’t think they are approaching this match as a way to right the ship, but the fans are certainly looking at it that way. Armas feels that the Red Bulls are doing a lot of the right things, but paying for all of their mistakes in 2019. Their issues up the field are compounding their backline struggles, but it isn’t as bad as it looks for the most part. Given FCCs struggles scoring in their last four matches, it may relieve some of the pressure the Red Bulls have been under. Still, FCC poses a significant counter-attack risk, so even if FCC bunker and let Red Bulls get into a rhythm, they need to be careful not to overcommit.
What else should Cincinnati fans should know about RBNY ahead of this match? Were people in NY taking the Henry rumors seriously?
Because of the slow start, many Red Bull fans were hoping the Henry rumors were true, more than strictly believing them to be true. My sources remained consistent throughout saying there was no truth to the rumor, but that didn’t stop the restless Red Bull fans from trying to will the move simply to remove Armas. While they have started poorly this season, many parallels can be made back to the 2016 season, where the team started slowly under Jesse Marsch and their high hopes for their Argentine DP (Gonzalo Veron) didn’t come to fruition. It is too soon to call this a disaster, but should they lose this weekend at home to expansion FCC, fan ire will intensify.
A big thanks for Joe for his time and insights. Go check out his work on The Red Bulls News Network, Seeing Red and Raising Bulls podcasts. Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati versus New York Red Bulls.