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New York Red Bulls

09 January 1:05 de la tarde

Ça y est, le calendrier de la saison régulière 2013 est sorti ! Je vous invite à le consulter ici.

Le coup d’envoi sera donné le 2 mars à 16h00 avec Philadelphie - Kansas City. Le format de compétition est identique à celui de 2012, avec l’inversion du lieu des rencontres entre les clubs qui s’affrontent une seule fois.

Le week-end des 16 et 17 mars promet d’être particulièrement palpitant puisque huit des neuf rencontres au programme opposeront des clubs rivaux. Parmi elles, l’incontournable Seattle - Portland,  mais aussi New York - DC United, Dallas - Houston ou encore Montréal - Toronto.

Comme de coutume désormais, il sera possible de regarder en direct chacune des 323 rencontres, que ce soit à l’antenne des partenaires de télédiffusion nationale, sur des chaînes de télévision locales, via le bouquet Direct Kick ou MLS Live. Certaines rencontres retransmises par ESPN et ESPN2 seront même en 3D !

L’élaboration du calendrier a été effectuée en veillant à ne pas entrer en conflit avec les matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde. En été, les coups d’envois seront rarement donnés avant 16h00, pour éviter qu’un soleil de plomb n’assomme le stade.

Au soir du 27 octobre, après 35 semaines de compétition et 34 matchs pour chaque équipe, le classement final de la saison régulière sera établi. Pourra alors commencer la phase finale de la compétition, qui durera une semaine de plus que l'an dernier puisque la finale de la Coupe MLS se jouera le 7 ou le 8 décembre.

07 January 7:58 de la tarde

File this one under "Rossi," or maybe "Subotic." Or maybe nothing at all.

As first reported in Bosnia, and later confirmed by TopDrawerSoccer, RBNY Academy forward Ismar Tandir signed with Sochaux of Ligue 1 last month.

"Ok," you're thinking. "That's going to happen from time to time as academies start producing better players."

And you'd be right.

But here's the thing: It looks like Tandir may not just be leaving the Red Bulls behind, but according to the player himself, he could be done with US soccer as a whole:

It's worth remembering that, even if he plays in an official game with the U-19s, he wouldn't be completely cap-tied. That only happens for official full senior national team games.

Of course, there's no guarantee that US soccer is missing out on anything here. They hadn't called Tandir in yet at any level, and it's not like there's a dearth of quality young attackers coming through the pipeline. Plus the elephant in the room is that he was born in Germany, and if he turns out to be really good... well, generally speaking, players play for the best team that puts them on speed dial.

07 January 12:20 de la tarde

With rumors flying over who will step in as the next head coach of the Red Bulls, one name seems to be a step closer to taking the reins in New York.

Previous speculation centered around former Aston Villa caretaker manager and Scottish international, Gary McAllister, but those rumblings seems to have stalled in recent days, leaving the door wide open for Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa. 

Making things even more interesting, Sousa just stepped down from his post at Hungarian club Videoton FC for "family reasons" – perhaps they prefer to be based in New York City? – which means his schedule is wide open for the 2013 MLS season. And, in the words of Alexi Lalas, Sousa is "a good bet to be the next coach of the New York Red Bulls."

Only time will tell who will take Hans Backe’s place at Red Bull Arena, but the clock is definitely ticking as the MLS Player Combine and the SuperDraft are quickly approaching.

Do you think Sousa is the right choice? Can he help the Red Bulls break the Curse of Caricola?

04 January 7:13 de la tarde

You've probably read the rumors, and so have we: The New York Red Bulls are reportedly trading Joel Lindpere to the Chicago Fire in exchange for an international slot.

Steven Goff at The Washington Post had it first, and Soccer By Ives followed it up with further details.

But as of Friday evening, neither club was saying anything, as both RBNY and Chicago declined to comment to MLSsoccer.com.

But given the amount of salary the Red Bulls are likely taking on for Juninho Pernambucano — further crowding up an already crowded midfield — and their suddenly open Designated Player slot thanks to the sale of Rafa Márquez, this move isn't much of a surprise. (Lindpere signed a hefty contract extension a year ago.)

Even less of a shock considering the clear-out of Hans Backe products that began as soon as the 2012 season ended and will likely continue as new sporting director Andy Roxburgh puts his stamp on the club. All that cap space is going to go somewhere, and if you factor in the extra international slot into the equation, well, you can take a guess as to what kind of math the Red Bulls are banking on.

Still, it'd be a bit sad to see the Estonian midfielder make his exit from Red Bull Arena. After all, he bagged the first goal ever scored there and was a fan favorite. If he's gone, by the way, that would leave a single player left on the roster from that March 2010 friendly against Santos, the debut match at RBNY's new home:

Roy Miller.

The times have changed in Harrison, indeed.

03 January 9:31 de la tarde

Fredy Montero maybe never knew it or others purged it out of him: But like it or not, no matter what the formation may show on any given matchday, Montero is an old-school No. 10.

A No. 10 as in a supremely skilled, game-breaker. They may not be the fastest, the tallest or the strongest, but they're capable of that stroke of genius that other players can only dream about.

No. 10s are hot and cold. They're often enigmatic and maddening. They need freedom because they don't fit a specific mold. They can't be judged by the same measure as other players. They're different.

Well, since Montero was counted on for goals (he did score double-digit goals in each of his four seasons), we could instead use the "No. 9.5" label that Michel Platini once coined for Italian Roberto Baggio: the No. 10 who also finds the back of the net.

Whichever label fits him best, it's no secret that tweeners like Montero are dying a slow death in modern soccer, which is increasingly based on athleticism and production. The sport has very little patience any more for the artisans, whose production may not always be reliable or punctual, but whose craft is inimitable.

If Montero's return to Colombia does materialize, MLS will have lost one of its artisans -- the author of some of the best goals in league history. True gems. But these days the Sounders are not interested in art and pretty pictures. They want goals. Goals that win them trophies.

Montero's exit, if it happens, would follow that of No. 10's Sebastián Grazzini (Chicago Fire) and Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps), who departed during the 2012 season. Toronto FC also sent attacking catalyst Joao Plata back to Ecuador in midseason.

Meanwhile, as creative types like Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) suffer through existential crises (where and how do they fit in MLS?), there have been rumors of another potential return to Colombia for FC Dallas playmaker David Ferreira.

Real Salt Lake are desperately trying to cling to their No. 10 Javier Morales and the New York Red Bulls looked far and wide before landing 37-year-old Brazilian Juninho Pernambucano.

Who's left out there? Columbus have their fingers crossed that a healthy Federico Higuaín can regain his form, while Colorado hope Martín Rivero can actually find his.

Before we get too alarmed, what we may very well be witnessing could just be a transition phase in MLS. A changing of the guard. The slighter, softer Montero's making way for a new breed of modern gamebreakers who are built stronger (see Sporting's Graham Zusi), bigger (see Toronto's Luis Silva), tougher (see Philly's Michael Farfan) and show up every game.

But finding another Farfan is easier said than done. Good luck, Seattle.

02 January 5:56 de la tarde

Victor Pálsson’s brief time with the New York Red Bulls appears to be done, and he reportedly has a new deal with Dutch side Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie.

The 21-year-old Icelandic winger was brought to New York in February by then head coach Hans Backe, but Pálsson struggled to establish himself as a reliable starter. He started four games and made 16 appearances overall, but failed to log a goal or an assist for the club before he was loaned to NEC with an option to sign in August. He has scored two goals in 12 games while on loan.

He has also played for Scottish side Hibernian during his career, and in 2011 was reportedly banned from all nightclubs in Edinburgh for urinating on a wall inside a club following a match.

The Red Bulls did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MLSsoccer.com.

26 December 3:44 de la tarde

J’espère que vous avez passé un joyeux Noël, que le père Noël a été généreux avec vous (je suis sûr que vous avez été très sages) et que vous vous êtes régalés avec vos proches. Aujourd’hui, je boucle le résumé en français des bilans de saison club par club. N’oubliez pas que vous pouvez retrouver ici tous les textes qui ont été écrits en anglais.

À tout seigneur tout honneur : San José a dominé la saison régulière et n’a plus quitté la tête du classement à partir de la mi-juin. Malgré une élimination douloureuse par le LA Galaxy en phase finale, ce fut la saison de tous les records pour l’équipe. En conservant l’essence de son jeu de 2011 pour se renforcer de manière stratégique, San José a accompli des progrès immenses mais guère surprenants. Frank Yallop ne s’y trompe pas quand il parle de saison réussie, mais terminée prématurément à cause de circonstances défavorables.

Kansas City a également tutoyé les sommets, notamment grâce à un départ en trombe (7 victoires consécutives), une victoire en Coupe des États-Unis et une flopée de récompenses individuelles. Une défense de fer et un passage systématique par les flancs ont été les clefs de sa réussite. Kerry Zavagnin, entraîneur adjoint et serviteur de longue date du club, l’explique par une bonne gestion qui se préoccupe tant des problèmes du moment que du long terme. Pour faire mieux en 2013, il faudra être plus efficace devant le but adverse.

Par moments, New York a eu des allures de prétendant au titre. À d’autres, des errements majeurs l’ont rendu méconnaissable. Comme lors de l’élimination en phase finale contre DC United : l’actuel entraîneur par intérim Mike Petke s’est rarement senti aussi mal. Même si les joueurs ont souvent réservé de bonnes surprises dans des circonstances difficiles, l’équipe aurait été bien meilleure si elle n’avait pas été chamboulée aussi souvent. Elle le sera encore en vue de 2013, où commencera une nouvelle quête de stabilité.

20 December 4:53 de la tarde

Moins animée que les précédentes, cette semaine a vu la scène des transferts s'activer sur trois fronts : les arrivées d’Amérique du Sud, les loteries pondérées et les signatures de jeunes joueurs.

Beckham parti, la MLS pourrait avoir trouvé son nouveau roi des coups francs : l’ancien Lyonnais Juninho, qui a signé à New York. Âgé de 37 ans, il évoluait ces dernières saisons à Vasco De Gama, où se produisait aussi Pipico, nouvel avant du FC Dallas. Autre recrue dont on attend beaucoup : le nouveau joueur désigné du Sporting Kansas City, l’attaquant argentin Claudio Bieler, finaliste de la Coupe du monde des clubs 2009.

Deux jeunes espoirs américains qui ont tenté leur chance à l’étranger sont revenus au bercail. Ex-internationaux en équipes de jeunes, ils ont trouvé acquéreur via le système de loterie pondérée (voir point I ici pour le règlement). Ainsi, le défenseur Mobi Fehr a pris la direction de Portland alors que l’arrière central Gale Agbossoumonde défendra les couleurs du Toronto FC.

Par ailleurs, plusieurs clubs offrent une promotion à leurs propres jeunes. Cette semaine, Bradlee Baladez (Dallas) et Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) ont ainsi obtenu une place dans l’effectif de MLS de leur club respectif.

14 December 9:19 de la tarde

Credit this one to BigAppleSoccer.com, who've been all over the New York coaching situation since the days of Eddie Firmani taking mid-afternoon naps at his desk.

Acccording to crack BAS reporter Kristian Dyer, the Red Bulls are on the verge of naming Scotsman Gary McAllister the new bossman, in a move that could come as soon as next week.

Should this come to pass, it'll be no surprise. McAllister has been the frontrunner since early November, back when Hans Backe's contract wasn't renewed. He's reportedly close with new RBNY sporting director Andy Roxburgh, and has had previous managerial runs with Coventry City and Leeds United, as well as a caretaker stint with Aston Villa.

McAllister would become the sixth head coach - including two-time interim boss Richie Williams - since Red Bull took over the franchise in 2006.

07 December 9:40 de la tarde

There's usually ample reason to mistrust the Brazilian media when it comes to soccer  the bigger the lie, the bigger the page views. So they tend to tell some whoppers.

But this one seems to have some truth to it. According to globoesporte, and initially picked up Stateside by the New York Post's Brian Lewis, Juninho Pernambucano  the original Juninho, and no, we shouldn't have to use his last name  is set to sign with the Red Bulls. And in fact, it would take a "miracle" for the transaction to get derailed.

Like I said, this one seems to make some sense, and it's mostly because Juninho goes way back with new global Red Bull soccer honcho Gerard Houllier. Houllier was head coach at Lyon for a spell when Juninho was the man there, and the two reportedly have a tight relationship.

Juninho is out of contract with current club Vasco da Gama on Dec. 31, which means he could come on a free when the MLS window opens on Jan. 1.

On Jan. 30, for what it's worth, he turns 38 years old.