Personnel changes keep coming for Red Bulls

Teemu Tainio

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The personnel changes keep on coming for the Red Bulls as they close in on their regular season opener on March 19, when they host the Seattle Sounders.

Head coach Hans Backe confirmed Monday that Finnish international Teemu Tainio has agreed to terms with the club and that the club will also sign central defender Stephen Keel, who represents the first American signed by Backe this year outside of the team’s SuperDraft selections.

Furthermore, after weeks of saying that he wanted to add central midfield depth to his New York squad, Backe said that he now is looking for a striker.

[inline_node:303215]A recent groin injury to teenage striker Juan Agudelo and the continued recovery of English forward Luke Rodgers – signed in mid-January but yet to play a preseason game for the club – has the Red Bulls a little thin up top.

Although Backe is optimistic that both Agudelo and Rodgers will be ready for First Kick, the latter likely as a sub off the bench, the coach said, “We’re not scoring enough,” and that he’s “a little bit concerned” about the team’s depth at forward.

That, coupled with previous comments concerning under-contract forward Salou Ibrahim indicating that the Ghanaian is not part of Backe’s plans for this year, have the Swedish tactician keen on bringing in a striker to bolster the squad.

“I’m definitely more at the moment looking more for a forward then a midfielder,” Backe said.

Although there is no timetable on the addition, the Red Bulls, coincidentally, have Trinidad and Tobago international Hughton Hector in camp and Backe is anticipating getting his first look at the player in Monday night’s scrimmage against FC Dallas.

Backe described Hector as someone who can play in central midfielder or out wide, and therefore isn’t someone who can line up next to Thierry Henry up top. However, he said the player has been recommended by the team’s scouts.

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer


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