UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Well, the season ended early for the Red Bulls as the East's top team was bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
Head coach Hans Backe pieced together a solid squad with the players he inherited, a sprinkling of trades, the draft — and some major international help.
Here's a look at the season-long player ratings, based on overall performance throughout the course of the 2010 MLS campaign.
First up, how did the defense rate?:
GK Bouna Coundoul
An argument could be made that Coundoul is one of the league’s most improved players this season, let alone 'keepers. Under the tutelage of goalkeeper coach Des MacAleenan, Coundoul has grown into a steady stopper who is known for more than just his athleticism and reaction saves.
At times, such as away to Chivas USA or against San Jose in the second leg of the playoff series, he’ll have a dud. But he had the fourth best GAA in the league, conceding 1.04 goals per game while facing the most shots of any keeper in the top 10 of the league’s rankings. Rating: 7
GK Greg Sutton
“Suts” may have played himself out of the backup role, posting a 3-1 mark in US Open Cup play and showing very well in the league when called upon. Sutton’s distribution was outstanding, and it wouldn't be a great surprise if he's snapped up in the upcoming Expansion Draft. Rating: 6
DF Chris Albright
The addition of Albright was one of the best trades New York made all year long. The veteran right back and former national teamer brought stability to the right side and a nice attacking presence.
Albright jokes that he can’t push into the attack as much as he'd like to because the speedy Dane Richards is too fast for him to overlap, but Albright was always steady on the back line. He played almost non-stop from May through September, though, and looked tired by season’s end. In 2011, he’ll need a bit more rest. Rating: 6.5
[inline_node:311954]DF Carlos Mendes
With Mendes’ arrival to the back four mid-season, the defense took a different, feistier shape. Mendes is a man-marker, plain and simple – and a gritty one at that. His distribution will never be anything to write home about, but he gets the job done. He might be in an position marked for an upgrade though, come 2011. Rating: 6
DF Tim Ream
Ream, a Rookie of the Year finalist, played every minute of his first professional season. Solid in the back, fantastic in distribution and rarely overmatched physically, Ream was a revelation. He had some down games, but the rookie was remarkably consistent and will be a fantastic addition for Bob Bradley and the national team heading into 2014. Rating: 7.5
DF Roy Miller
The Costa Rican international started the season strong, winning balls and moving well into the attack. However, a summer hamstring injury slowed the left back down and limited his productivity. Since August, Miller’s form took a dip and was borderline disastrous over the last four matches of the season, including the playoffs. While not a liability, this might be a slot the Red Bulls seek to improve on next year. Rating: 5
DF Mike Petke
The legend retired this year as probably the most beloved face in franchise history. Petke saw the vast majority of his minutes in the first half of the season before Mendes' return to health forced him out of the starting XI. Petke was solid overall and remained a consummate professional. His work ethic in training was second to none. Rating: 6
DF Danleigh Borman
A very legitimate argument could have been made that over the first half of the season, Borman was a candidate for most-improved honors. The tenacious, diminutive left back showed good vision and distribution as well as quality overlapping. However, he fell out of favor after the World Cup break. Borman should be welcomed back for 2011 if an expansion team doesn’t make a shrewd move for him. Rating: 6
DF Jeremy Hall
It was an up and down year for Hall, who continued to adjust to the right back position and had a midseason injury struggle. He fought back bravely from the injury to make several late season appearances, including two efforts in the playoffs. Hall has the speed and work rate to be a good right back, he just needs to find more consistency and be tougher in the tackle. His total skill package could make him an elite right back in MLS and a national team caliber player, but he needs to finish his product. Rating: 6
Very difficult to judge the rest of the backline given their lack of minutes. Carey Talley’s team debut was cut short in October due to a hamstring injury, and he was never to be seen again on the playing field. Andrew Boyens got most of his action in the US Open Cup and was never heard from since returning to the team following his participation with New Zealand’s World Cup side.
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012