2020 Season Preview: New York Red Bulls

2020 is set to be a year of transition for the Red Bulls... after an early playoff exit in 2019 and the departures of three club legends in the offseason. Luis Robles, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kemar Lawrence are all gone and there have not been any high-profile signings to replace them.

Chris Armas and co. have their work cut out for them to continue the club's playoff streak and he will be hoping to see improvement from key players as well as breakout years from some younger ones.

2019 Finish

  • MLS Reg. Season: 48 points (14W-14L-6D), 6th in East / 12th overall
  • MLS Cup Playoffs: Eliminated in Eastern Conf. Round One (vs. Philadelphia Union)
  • U.S. Open Cup: Eliminated in 4th Round (vs. New England Revolution)
  • Concacaf Champions League: Eliminated in QFs (vs. Santos Laguna)

Star players

  • Aaron Long — The USMNT center back had a down year in 2019, some of which could probably be blamed on persistent rumors linking him with a move to the Premier League, but he should have plenty of motivation this season as he looks to lock down a starting spot for Gregg Berhalter's U.S. team in the Hex.
  • Kaku – We have yet to see the Paraguayan's full potential in a Red Bulls shirt but this could be Kaku's year.
  • Daniel Royer — One of the most consistent Red Bulls over the past few years, the left winger will look to hit double-digit goals for the fourth year in a row.

Extratime Analysis: New York Red Bulls

Key acquisitions and departures

  • IN: David Jensen — Jensen will battle with Ryan Meara to become the starting goalkeeper after Robles' departure.
  • IN: Mandela Egbo — The Englishman will look to grab the starting right back role as he battles it out with Kyle Duncan and Rece Buckmaster.
  • OUT: Luis Robles — The vocal leader of RBNY has moved on to Inter Miami, leaving a giant hole in the net.
  • OUT: Bradley Wright-Phillips — BWP's injury-plagued year was the end of his sterling tenure in Harrison. A trio of young strikers will look to fill the hole he has left.
  • OUT: Kemar Lawrence — After expressing his frustration, Lawrence was transferred to Anderlecht. The loss of one of the best left backs in the league is a big one for RBNY.

Projected Starting XI

2020 Roster

  • Goalkeepers (3): David Jensen, Kendall McIntosh, Ryan Meara
  • Defenders (9): Rece Buckmaster, Kyle Duncan, Mandela Egbo, Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, Tim Parker, Patrick Seagrist, Amro Tarek, John Tolkin
  • Midfielders (12): Cristian Casseres Jr., Sean Davis, Omir Fernandez, Kaku, Chris Lema, Ben Mines, Alex Muyl, Daniel Royer, Marc Rzatkowski, Josh Sims, Jared Stroud, Florian Valot
  • Forwards (3): Tom Barlow, Mathias Jorgensen, Brian White

Armchair Analyst: Team strengths and weaknesses

  • Strength: For all the roster turnover I think that if you offered most teams RBNY’s spine – starting from the Paraguay international No. 10, to one of the best young destroyers in the league, to the veteran d-mid and CBs from that 71-point Supporters’ Shield-winning team in 2018 – they’d take it. There’s a lot of talent and know-how in that group.
  • Weakness: Go outside that spine and you’ve got a lot of question marks, especially at both fullback slots, where there are a grand total of zero proven starters. Center forward’s a bit clearer as Brian White and Tom Barlow combined to put up good numbers both in USL and MLS last year, but relative to the teams expected to be at the top of the heap this year, they sure do have a lot to prove.

Predictions

  • Ben Baer: 9th in East
  • Marcelo Balboa (Univision): 8th in East
  • Calen Carr: 7th in East
  • Charlie Davies: 10th in East
  • Matt Doyle: 10th in East
  • Kristian Jack (TSN): 10th in East
  • Frederic Lord (TVA Sports): 8th in East 
Series: 

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