The Red Bulls of New York look to have established a team that could well be the best in the MLS. Currently on a hot streak of five consecutive wins, the Red Bulls are first in the Eastern Conference with 25 points. Whether or not the hot start will lead to an MLS Cup championship remains to be seen.
The team is led by the dynamic striker pair of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry. The two currently sit second and third in the MLS in goals scored, with Cooper bagging ten and Henry firing nine in the first twelve games of the year. Both marks are very good and will give defenses fits as they try to account for two incredibly potent forwards.
Thierry Henry has adapted well to the American game. A legendary former striker at Arsenal and Barcelona, the Frenchmen played well last season before now taking full control of the league. Unfortunately, he has been slowed by a nagging hamstring injury and hasn’t featured for the last few matches.
In his place, Kenny Cooper has been great. The former FC Dallas star is a large physical presence that can wear down any defender. This goal against his former club was a beauty that shows off his talent to be calm in front of the goal.
Another bright spot on the team is the exceptional goalkeeping by youngster, Ryan Meara. Meara is only 21 years old and played for a few USL teams before entering the MLS draft this spring. Selected by the Red Bulls, he has started every game since and has played very well. Obviously experience is key for a goalie, and we will have to see how he handles adversity. However, Meara did gather good experience by playing professionally before the MLS so he is not a complete rookie. His abilities may dictate how far the Red Bulls progress in the post-season.
Another bright spot for the team is Dax McCarty. The midfielder has done a fine job dictating the flow and pace of the game, and his hard working ethic is giving the Red Bulls victories even though they are short-handed through injuries. McCarty entered the league with FC Dallas but has been traded about to DC United and may now have found his home in New York.
Clearly there has been drama amidst the team in the wake of trading Juan Agudelo to Chiva USA for defender Heath Pearce. Agudelo is an up and coming star striker for America but hasn’t found minutes due to the amazing play by Henry and Cooper. Trading him was the right move for everyone, including the team who will have helped strengthen the back line with Pearce, a talented left back.
The pieces are being put in place and the New York Red Bulls are looking more and more like the team to watch this season. With the dismal start by the LA Galaxy, the door has been thrown wide open for the entire MLS to claim the top prize. Currently it looks like the Red Bulls are seizing the opportunity behind their star strikers and may well feature in the MLS Cup final.