The day after the playoff loss to D.C. United, New York announced that manager Hans Backe and assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen will not be back as the team did not extend their expiring contracts. Erik Soler was also fired as the team’s general manager.
When making the announcement about Backe and Soler, the Red Bulls announced former Scotland manager and Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh will be responsible for all soccer activities at the club.
One of Roxburgh’s first jobs was to review the roster from last season and he obviously was not impressed by what he saw as today New York waived 10 players including veteran midfielders Jan Gunnar Solli and Teemu Tainio, defender Stephen Keel and goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
Solli came to the Red Bulls from Norway and played in 55 matches with three goals and 12 assists in two seasons. Tainio started 37 of 42 games over the past two seasons. Acquired from the Galaxy for a draft pick, Gaudette made 12 starts, posting a 1.33 goals against average, three shutouts and a 5-3-4 record.
The Red Bulls owners have invested heavily in the club both on and off the pitch. New York has one of the best stadiums in MLS, while on the pitch they have invested heavily in the likes of Juan Pablo Ángel, Thierry Henry, Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Márquez, and Tim Cahill.
Next to the Galaxy, the Red Bulls have probably the highest payroll in MLS, but that payroll has not translated into success on the pitch. While Beckham and Donovan have the Galaxy in their third MLS Cup in four years, Henry and Marquez have yet to reach the Eastern Conference final. That is simply not good enough.
And from today’s action, it looks like Roxburgh agrees. The big question is whether Roxburgh can build a team this winter to compete with the likes of Sporting Kansas, D.C. United and Houston Dynamo?