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New York Draft Preview: Red Bulls need midfield depth

MLSsoccer.com begins its team-by-team lookahead at the 2013 SuperDraft and the players that will most likely be on each club’s radar.

The New York Red Bulls are set to enter the franchise’s 18th season in Major League Soccer, and they’ll do so just as they entered the previous 17: without a trophy and in the midst of the annual roster overhaul. Just about the entire midfield’s been excised, there’s still a DP slot to play around with, and there are still questions regarding two of last year’s cornerstones – central defender Markus Holgersson and forward Kenny Cooper.

There’s never been much emphasis on the draft during the RBNY years, but they’ve scored some golazos, anyway. In 2010, they grabbed Tim Ream in the second round, and two years later – last year’s draft – they grabbed goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who was a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year before a hip injury sidelined him.

They’ll need to conjure more of that second round magic again in 2013.

New York Red Bulls SuperDraft Picks: #22 (2nd Rd)

New York Red Bulls Depth Chart (21 Players)

Goalkeepers (3): Luis Robles, Ryan Meara, Santiago Castano

Left Backs (2): Heath Pearce, Roy Miller

Central Defenders (4): Jámison Olave, Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde, Digão

Right Backs (3): Brandon Barklage, Connor Lade, Kosuke Kimura

Central Midfielders (3): Tim Cahill, Juninho, Dax McCarty

Wide Midfielders (1): Loyd Sam

Forwards (5): Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper, Fabián Espíndola, Josué Martínez, Armando Moreno

Internationals slots (9 of 10 used):

New York Red Bulls SuperDraft Priorities

The offseason purge was swift, with players like Joel Lindpere and Teemu Tainio, mainstays of the Hans Backe era, sent packing. It’s left RBNY woefully short of midfielders, which is where we’ll start:

1. Get some help for Dax: It’s a given that both Juninho and Cahill are going to start, which means McCarty is going to have to do an ungodly amount of covering in midfield. Even a player as fit as he is could struggle with that workload, so it’ll be imperative to get someone in who can take the occasional shift protecting the backline. Problem is, there doesn’t seem like a surefire MLS-caliber d-mid available at any point in this particular draft.

2. Get Wide: Loyd Sam’s as lonely at wide midfield as McCarty is a d-mid. Even if New York play primarily in a 4-3-3 (which looks like it’ll be the case), that’s something that needs to be addressed. It would help to have another speed option in there as well, and they may be able to find that at No. 22. It’s more realistic than a d-mid, anyway.

Wish List (Wide midfielders): Marc Cintron (Providence), Donnie Smith (UNC Charlotte)

3. Big In The Back: Four central defenders on the current roster. None of them Yanks. Yeah, there’s a good chance that Tyler Ruthven will be resigned this preseason, but history says that in MLS, it’s not wise to spend more than one international spot on the defense. RBNY need to find some answers there – and hope that one of the top prospects falls on draft day.

Wish List (Center backs):  Eric Schoenle (West Virginia), Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (Washington), Tommy Muller (Georgetown)