New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke addresses Thierry Henry, Amando Moreno situations
The future of one forward was decided last week. The prospects of another likely won't come until much later in the year.
New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke spoke to reporters on a conference call on Monday afternoon to discuss a wide range of topics, including the statuses of star striker and captain Thierry Henry and the recently departed Amando Moreno.
With regards to Henry, Petke said that contract negotiations are not currently being held despite the fact that the Designated Player is in the final year of his deal. Petke added that those talks will commence at some point this year, but that for now Henry was putting all his efforts in the start of the Red Bulls' 2014 campaign.
"Obviously, Thierry wants to focus on the now and focus on this season, getting off to a good start," said Petke. "He's continuing to do well in preseason and I think that's the farthest thing on his mind, to be honest with you. I think we'd all be foolish not to realize that at some point, midseason on, there will most certainly be discussions. There has to be.
"But at this stage right now, Thierry is doing a great job at prioritizing that it's all about the now and he understands that there's going to be questions and opinions. But until that point comes that both sides, Thierry and his representatives and us, feel that we need to address it, we're focusing on this preseason right now and the beginning of the season."
Henry's status with the club beyond the upcoming season will surely be a hot topic all year long, especially since the veteran striker is coming off his least productive full season with New York. Henry will be 37 by the time the 2015 campaign begins, and whether he is deserving of another DP deal will likely largely depend on how he performs this year.
While Henry's future with the club is fuzzy, Moreno's is crystal clear. Moreno (pictured below) has joined Liga MX side Club Tijuana on a free transfer and is training with their Under-20 team after turning down an offer from the Red Bulls and becoming a free agent this past offseason.
- Find the latest RBNY news and notes at NewYorkRedBulls.com
Moreno is the latest example of a Homegrown player being let go by the club not long after signing his first professional contract. He was signed to his deal in December 2012 and made two brief appearances last season for the Red Bulls before taking them by surprise and turning down the contract option that was offered this winter.
"I'm a big fan of Amando's. I will be the first one to say that and he knows that," said Petke. "We have a young player who has potential who we saw along with guys like [goalkeeper Santiago Castaño] from our academy as the future, and we're in such a, what I like to call a 'now mentality' in life, with young players in all sports, and they get frustrated. Amando knows what we expected of him and we have very high hopes for his development, and at the end of the day he knew he was probably the third or fourth in the depth chart at his position.
"But the one thing I always try to express to these young guys, you look at someone like Graham Zusi in Kansas City or you look at someone like Chance Myers over there, the No. 1 [SuperDraft] pick however many years ago, who once they joined Kansas City the people who knew them probably were like, 'Where the heck are they? Are they still on the roster?' ...They had two years because they understood they needed to be patient and work hard, and now look like where players like that are."
That message was either not clearly received or simply ignored, as the U-20 US national team forward left his hometown club ahead of a season that will see the Red Bulls play in several competitions. Petke, however, is holding no ill will towards Moreno for his decision, and hopes to one day coach him again.
"I know it was very tough for Amando," said Petke. "I saw it in his eyes when we had the one-on-one talk. I know it was a very tough decision, whoever was behind the decision, but at the end of the day the one thing I said to Amando was, 'I still believe in you. I have high hopes for you.'
"I would love nothing more than at some point in the next couple of years [for him] to wind up back here as a better player and be the No. 1 or No. 2 on the depth chart," he added. "I still have hopes for that. I wish him the best. He's a phenomenal kid and he has a bright future."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.