…I’M CRAIG HUTCHINSON: A PROMISING START

NewYorkRedBulls.com Correspondent Craig Hutchinson begins a regular column on RedBullsReader.com today with a look at the Red Bulls’ season to date.  If you have a question or comment for Craig, share your thoughts in the comments section.

As the MLS season prepares to resume following a two week break to mark the start of the World Cup, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at the Red Bull’s season so far. If you think back to the mentality of the club and the fans following the end of the 2009 season (the final 5-0 thrashing of Toronto aside), it is pretty incredible to where we stand right now – joint top of the Eastern Conference, through to the last 16 of the US Open Cup and a 48.48% increase in attendance.

The season so far can probably be broke down into three parts – the phenomenal start to the season, where the team didn’t always play it’s best football, but followed up an undefeated preseason with a 7-1-0 surge in all competitions – the four game losing streak in the league (with a cup and friendly win sprinkled in) where the team arguably played some of it’s best attacking play of the season but was plagued with red cards, injuries and individual defensive mistakes – and the two consecutive wins leading into the break, highlighted by Juan Pablo’s superb, dramatic, magical (insert superlative of choice here) 94th minute free kick against Houston.

All things considered, this has been a very promising season so far, succeeding the expectations of most, so what are the main reasons behind this? Let’s take a look at a few of them…

1. The new management set up.
During the off season, most had an opinion on who they’d like the new GM and head coach to be. Richie Williams was a firm fan favorite to convert his interim head coach role into a fulltime one and high profile names were muttered (Klinsmann, Djorkaeff, Adams). The club went instead with two people relatively unknown to your average MLS fan, Scandinavians Eric Soler and Hans Backe. Richie remained as assistant coach, Goran Aral was added to the staff and Des McAleenan continued his role as GK coach. Good appointments?  Already more wins that 2009, at times some outstanding team play, no busts so far with the new players brought in (see below) and an increased tempo and attitude in practice – it’s safe to say yes at this point.

2. Shrewd additions to the playing staff.
As the organization and it’s fans begin to salivate at the prospect of adding new DPs, let’s not overlook the contributions of the some of the players brought in to a collective who? Costa Rican international Roy Miller has been a mark of consistency at left back (and occasionally midfield) and Estonian international Joel Lindpere has been nothing short of fantastic in his start to the season, justified by his mass influx of votes for the All-Star game. Other additions, Chris Albright, Carl Robinson, Salou Ibrahim and Brian Nielsen have shown flashes of positive contributions to the team but injuries have restricted their ability to have a more meaningful contribution so far.  We shall have to see if the latter four can match the contributions of the aforementioned Miller and Lindpere…
3. Baby Bulls.
All five draft picks this year not only made the roster, but most have made many positive contributions early in the season. Tim Ream looked every bit a future international in his spectacular start to the season. A few rookie mistakes began to emerge, but overall he could be a contender for rookie of the Year. First round pick Tony Tchani has shown flashes of his physical skills as a box to box midfielder and has been rewarded with spotted starts in the league; Connor Chinn seams to score every time he takes the field, although his goal per chance ratio could be better; and Irving Garcia is becoming a fan favorite in his limited minutes due to his attacking flair and willingness to beat a defender. In addition, other recent draft picks Sinisa Ubiparapovic, Danleigh Borman and Jeremy Hall have all had their moments. Sinisa in particular is playing with the sort of form that should dictate a starting spot. Consider we still have seen barely anything from other youngsters Austin da Luz, Juan Agudelo and Giorgi Chirgadze for one reason or another, the future looks bright for these youngsters the fans have dubbed ‘Baby Bulls’.
4. Red Bull Arena (of course…)
And by the Arena, I also mean the fans. It could be possible to nitpick some little changes you’d like to see at the stadium, but no one can argue that it is hands down the best soccer stadium in the country and one of the best stadiums in the world in it’s size category. I’ve been to dozens of stadiums of various sports around the world and could not be more delighted with the one that the Red Bull organization has bestowed upon us. As previously mentioned, attendances have increased almost 50% giving us higher average attendances than local teams the Nets, Islanders and Devils (another 2,000 fans a game would see us pass the Rangers also). A combination of the stadium and increase in attendance has seen the atmosphere at games become phenomenal, even in modest crowds at the Cup games; the noise travels so well it sounds like many more are there.  Everyone who has attended the games and especially the supporters groups – you can give yourself a big pat on the back there!

I’m not here to blow sunshine up everyone’s backside here; we’re not perfect as a team or organization. Hey, attendances could be even better, performance and consistency on the field could be better – but consider where we are now compared to where we’ve been – there can be few complaints so far. And with the tantalizing promise of a new DP (or two?), this is a great time to be a Red Bull!

Craig Hutchinson hails from the town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England and gained a BA honors degree in Sports Studies and Physical Education at the University of York St. John, North Yorkshire, England. After graduation, he worked for five years as a professional youth soccer coach throughout the United States. He joined the New York Red Bulls in 2008 as a coach in the youth Training Programs and Regional Development Schools. He became the team’s video broadcaster at the beginning of the 2010 season.


Advertisements

10 Responses to “…I’M CRAIG HUTCHINSON: A PROMISING START”

  1. jpjm77 Says:

    I almost didn’t read this due to it’s length, but I’m glad I did. Some great points made here and I’ll look forward to reading more from him.
    It is good to be a Red Bull right now!

  2. Pico Says:

    Hi Craig,

    Greetings from Highland, NY. Glad to see you got a more prominent opportunity within the organization, even if that means we will not be seeing you in the summer camps.

    Hopefully we will see you in the field at RB Arena when the camp reunions take place.

    Cheers

  3. Enemy Says:

    Can you guys get an editor for this column? Maybe use some of the money you aren’t spending on marketing? Formatting, lack of proper capitalization, “possible to nitpick a little changes ,” just awful awful stuff.

    • JB Says:

      You’re right, the grammar is a little off. You would think the English would have a grasp of the English language! To be fair, the content is pretty decent, maybe get a ghost writer for next time?

    • Jack Moody Says:

      If you plan to comment on someone’s use of grammar, then I would recommend using an accurate quotation.The phrase “possible to nitpick SOME little changes” makes sense to me.

      • Enemy Says:

        It was corrected between my post and now. RBNY should be paying me for my service in this matter.

  4. Dombrowski Says:

    Goran Aral, what the hell does he do and why we never see him at the games near the bench or near training facilities? Is he even in US?

    • Pico Says:

      For what I have heard Goral is concentrating on the basics with the younger players. Something that should have been taken care of when in college or earlier.

      Cheers

  5. Jack Moody Says:

    Well done Craig, good luck with this, Jack

  6. Starks in Tampa Says:

    Craig,

    How much do you think Henry will help NYRB when he comes over, when I say help I am talking about the attacking side of things and creating chances for Angel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: