Matthew Conroy of The Vipers Nest, a New York Red Bulls blog, and I exchanged three questions a piece ahead of tonight's Union-Red Bulls game. You can read my answers by heading to The Vipers Nest (click the linked text).
tBG: What are your thoughts on general manager Eric Soler's comments about the Dwayne De Rosario trade debacle?
TVP: There are two ways to looks at it. Either Soler didn't understand the kind of player he was getting or the team thought they could mould De Rosario into something he has never been. Neither option makes Soler look very good and both betray his lack of knowledge of MLS.
When they made the deal, I thought this was a slam dunk transaction that any GM in the league would have jumped at. The fact that Tony Tchani has bounced around since being traded to Toronto still makes me think that the original trade was a good one. De Rosario didn't deliver what most of us expected when he was in New York, but he had his moments (Houston at home, Portland away), and I still think we could have found a way to make him fit if we had a more creative manager.
The trade for McCarty was essentially a panic move, brought about by some horrible defensive errors and shoddy goalkeeping. I don't care what Soler says now. I bet he wishes he had that trade back, whether or not De Rosario had a future in New York.
tBG: Was it a red card, or do you think the ref got it wrong? The Red Bulls chose to say 'no comment' on the matter.
TVP: That's probably smart. They expressed displeasure when Henry was sent off in Portland and the league brought the hammer down on them. It was a bizarre incident, but to be honest I think it was a situation that Henry could - and should - have avoided. He has to understand that MLS refs are quick to flash the red cards. Also, Henry has understandably acquired a reputation around the league (and among refs, I would imagine) for chippy play and cheap shots.
Think back to the Hartman incident last year and the "love tap" to Adam Moffat that got him his red card in Portland. He has always been portrayed as a smooth as silk kind of player, but he also isn't afraid to get "stuck in" as they say. He paid the price in Kansas City, and now we'll have to manage without him on Thursday. That's life.
tBG: Do you think that the Red Bulls will make the playoffs? If yes, how far will they go?
TVP: Pffffff... God only knows. I didn't expect an Henry-less Red Bulls team to get a result a few weeks ago in Dallas, but they did. So anything could happen. Having said that it was their only victory without Henry this year and I fewer that they may not be able to control the play the way they normally do, unless Tainio and Marquez really step it up.
On the other hand, even if the Red Bulls lose on Thursday they still have a decent shot at the postseason. A lot will depend on what happens between DC United and the Portland Timbers [they drew 1-1]. I don't think we deserve to be in the playoffs (hell, I don't even think eight teams deserve to go), but I think we will probably find some way to squeeze in. Once we get there, who knows? But looking at the path for the tenth playoff team there will be no easy games. And if Henry gets an additional suspension, you can forget about it.
Projected line up?
Jan Gunnar Solli - Stephen Keel - Tim Ream - Roy Miller
Mehdi Ballouchy (ugh) - Rafael Marquez - Teemu Tainio - Joel Lindpere
Dane Richards - Luke Rodgers
Being wildly optimistic, a 1-1 draw.