The New York Red Bulls are a team that could have and probably should have defeated the Houston Dynamo in last season’s Easter Conference Semifinals. However, they failed to do so, because they faced a much better defensive unit which was able to give their offense a big push that enabled them to get the aggregate win.
With that said, New York has two issues that need to be solved — a new striker who is fast, crafty and is not afraid to take chances, and another solid piece to strengthen the defense up a bit more.
Thierry Henry, Lloyd Sam and Peguy Luyindula all have their strengths, but they simply cannot get it done when they absolutely have to. The former of those three is good throughout the regular season and even in the first round(s) of the playoffs, but he struggles when the team is in desperation of goals. Therefore, someone needs to brought in and fast.
The team had Kenny Cooper, who recently departed from FC Dallas for the Seattle Sounders. He had a decent year in New York, but the team decided to let him go prior to last season. If they can find someone with his skill set, height and overall ability, they will be fine. If not, then they have to enhance the abilities of the guys that are already on the roster.
As for the defense, they already have some decent pieces, but they need one more veteran who can run for days, is not afraid of the aerial game, and can halt dangerous attacks form opponents. The best defender they have right now is none other than Jamison Olave, who at times lets the blood rush to his head, which causes him to make mistakes — ejections, own goals, and miscommunications that cause other defenders to commit unforgivable errors.
On paper, this team is a candidate to go far down the stretch into the postseason, but without renovations and new tactical improvements, they will end up losing once again in the first or second round.