The New York Post’s Brian Lewis and the Newark Star–Ledger’s Frank Giase visited a Red Bulls training session at Montclair State University on Monday and came away, um, bullish—on both the new regime of GM Erik Soler and coach Hans Backe, and on the state of the team in general.
Fresh from a preseason trip to Spain, where they went unbeaten in exhibitions against CSKA Moscow (1-1), Polish side Lech Poznan (1-0), and Norwegian team Stromsgodset IF (2-1), the Red Bulls welcomed Costa Rican defender Roy Miller to his first RBNY practice, and confirmed the signing of Estonian international Joel Lindpere.
The team announced that it would add an attacking midfielder before the season opener on March 27, and that it would wait until after South Africa 2010 to pull the trigger on its second Designated Player slot, refueling speculation that it would go after a big international, such as France’s Thierry Henry, once the World Cup is finished.
Click here for Giase’s report. He came away clearly impressed with Soler and the way the team is doing business, and the signing of Lindpere, who has 74 caps and six goals for Estonia, does seem promising: At 28, he’s in his prime, and with his modest pedigree, he should fit well with MLS and be hungry to prove himself. Backe describes him to Lewis as a “hard worker” with a great left foot who’ s very good on restarts.
But Red Bulls/MetroStars fans have been down the hope-springs-eternal road many times before. With memories of previous hopeful midfield signings such as Sasa Curcic, Claudio Reyna, and Albert Celades still fresh in their minds, they can be forgiven if they take a wait-and-see attitude.
The Red Bulls head to Bradenton, Fla., on Monday for the next phase of their preseason.