Friday Morning Gaffer: A look at NY's picks
Well, the SuperDraft is over and four new players are a step away from becoming Red Bulls. The Friday Morning Gaffer takes a look at four things to consider, one for each pick:
Is Ibrahim Gone?
Everyone thought the Red Bulls would use the No. 13 pick in the draft on a defender, especially since a day before, sporting director Erik Soler talked about the need to draft defensive depth.
Instead, Soler went out and picked up an attacking player in Corey Hertzog, a puzzling move since they’re reportedly adding a midfielder in Norwegian international Jan Gunnar Solli and a forward in Englishman Luke Rodgers.
Forward was not a pressing need, but Hertzog adds pace and a scoring touch to the team. He can also push Dane Richards along the flank as head coach Hans Backe said he sees Hertzog as both a winger and a striker. But the curious pick might mean that forward Salou Ibrahim is on the way out of New York.
In England, one of the biggest football fixture dates is Dec. 26, which they call Boxing Day.
Backe called the Red Bulls first selection in the second round a “box to box player” so perhaps the Red Bulls are celebrating Boxing Day three weeks late. The pick of English midfielder John Rooney is another head-scratcher as the team appears set in central midfield with the like of Joel Lindpere, last year's first round pick Tony Tchani, Designated Player Rafa Márquez, veteran Carl Robinson and the aforementioned Solli all capable of playing there.
Rooney likes to attack, perhaps not a surprise since Manchester United star Wayne Rooney is his brother. This move could also spell the end of Sinisa Ubiparipovic, a player who fell out of the favor last year around midseason.
He’s No Roy
North Carolina State defender Tyler Lassiter may share a last name with former MLS and United States national team star Roy “Lights Out” Lassiter, but unlike the standout forward, the Red Bulls rookie stops goals rather than scores them.
Lassiter is a left-footed player whom Backe compared favorably to Tim Ream, meaning he’s comfortable with the ball and boasts good distribution. The Red Bulls need center back cover since Mike Petke retired this past fall. Everyone is just surprised that they waited until the second round to add it.
Cortes a Fountain of Possibilities
Billy Cortes was taken in the third round, and Backe has already stated that he brought in the the Maryland midfielder to compete with Chris Albright at right back.
Albright is just a year removed from a season in which he played just one game after suffering a serious knee injury, so grooming a replacement is a good idea.
Cortes will get good minutes in friendly matches and maybe the U.S. Open Cup, especially following the trade of Jeremy Hall, a similar player, to Portland.
Fans are hoping that Cortes' former Terrapins teammate Matt Kassel, who also plays on New York's academy team, will join him on the Red Bulls roster.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012