The Recent Results: Last year’s run through the playoffs to the MLS Cup Final makes NY’s season hard to define. If this were any other league in the world (i.e. no postseason), they would be losers for finishing fifth in the East. But, this isn’t any other league in the world, it’s MLS, so I think you have to consider NYRB’s 2008 season a huge success.
The Man in Charge: Juan Carlos Osorio is a damn good coach in my opinion. Sure, he’s a bit brazen and he definitely likes to manage his team like a dictator runs his country, but you cannot argue with his results so far. He is going to need to rule with an iron fist this year though, because his squad looks like it may lack depth and talent.
On the Offensive: Juan Pablo Angel, if healthy, is one of the most prolific scorers in MLS history. He is going to need to be injury-free though because it doesn’t look like he will have a ton of help. Dave van den Bergh is gone now, and I don’t see anyone on the current roster who is fit to step into his clogs. Stammler can play, but he’s no DVDB.
For the Defense: NYRB’s D sucked in 2008 and I really do not think the organization did anything to shore up this problem in the offseason. The backline looks like it will be inexperienced and paper thin. I am not sure why they sit on the sidelines while other teams go out and try to improve their starting eleven. It can’t be lack of energy, right?
Movie They Resemble: I thought about selecting We’re No Angels here, just for the pun on Juan Pablo’s name and the fact that the film was carried by two actors, just like Red Bulls execs are hoping two (or even one) player can carry their squad in 2009. But, I eventually decided to go with my favorite movie about New York, Ghostbusters. New York has still never won a major trophy, so they have many demons they need to finally bust. Will 2009 be the year? I doubt it. I think this year could be disastrous for them. Just like New York City in the movie, NYRB could be inundated with even more ghosts this year. Like Bill Murray’s character Peter Venkman says in the film, it could be “real Wrath of God stuff, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!”