Remember when we talked about how the New York Red Bulls were no longer “Thierry Henry’s team,” having transitioned in image to something that more closely resembled “Tim Cahill’s team?”
It was also something of a metaphor, really more about reshaping the team in manager Mike Petke’s image, a team that would be less about the brightly lit flash and dash, more about a mud-and-guts side that could grind with the best of them.
No, it’s not as sexy, but the results were speaking for themselves; New York won its first major trophy (or did so if you are among the set that considers a Supporters Shield as a major trophy).
Either way, it appears things will keep moving in that direction for New York. Big Apple Soccer reports that the day of the fancy-pants DP may be done around Red Bull Arena.
This doesn’t mean new Designated Players can’t find their way to Harrison, N.J. Rather, it means that the balance will shift as Red Bulls deciders spend their DP bucks, tilting away from seat-selling concerns and more towards players who fit a role or fit the system.
Is the shift necessary? Yes and no. The LA Galaxy has demonstrated wonderfully that both boxes can be checked by the same player – but it’s not an easy maneuver. And it’s not cheap! David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan do make sense on both accounts – but they hardly come at discount prices.
Tim Leiweke, now presiding over Toronto FC, was the architect of those teams in Los Angeles. He says there may be no more than 30 players in the world who fill needs in building the brand and in being all they can be on the field. And that crème de la crème bunch is hardly a secret in world soccer, which means they can command a premium price.