11:38 am May. 22, 2012
The Red Bulls defeated Montreal, 2-1 on Saturday night, for the team's fifth straight win. The Red Bulls have won five straight games three other times in franchise history: in 2000, 2001 and 2003. In all three seasons, they made the playoffs. In 2003, the Red Bulls also reached the U.S. Open Cup final, the closest they have come to a trophy in team history.
Following the Juan Agudelo trade, the roster is stacked with depth in defense and through the midfield, and they add Thierry Henry back into the attacking mix to pair with Kenny Cooper, who scored his tenth goal of the season Saturday, and Dane Richards, whose goal provided the margin of victory against Montreal.
It's probably a positive, too, that they don't need to figure out how to mix Rafa Marquez into a lineup that has been succeeding without him, thanks to Marquez's call-up by the Mexican national team. Between upcoming friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, Marquez will be otherwise occupied for much of the period between now and when the summer-transfer window opens on June 27. A deal to dump Marquez to a Mexican side makes plenty of sense at that point.
The one player who performed poorly on Saturday, midfielder Victor Palsson, will be out, too: Palsson's two yellow cards got him sent off on Saturday, and mean he won't be playing Wednesday night when New York hosts Chivas USA at Red Bull Arena. And his presence in the lineup isn't required; he made that appearance because Mehdi Ballouchy did not have clearance to travel to Canada.
New York began 2011 with a great deal of success, but saw most of its key players leave for international duty for much of the summer. New York never really recovered. They've built the roster differently this time, balancing international stars with those, like Henry, who have given up national team duty and others who aren't part of their nation's roster picture.
The only thing that can separate this Red Bulls season from the preceding decade and a half of futility is a trophy at the end of it. But they might just have put together a roster capable of winning one, finally.