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2013 New York Red Bulls May Review

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COMMENTARY | Since losing 1-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City back on April 17, the New York Red Bulls have gone 5-0-2 in Major League Soccer play, and they also advanced in the US Open Cup competition after beating Reading United in their final match of May. Everything is comin' up Milhouse for Mike Petke's Red and White Army as summer approaches. I've seen this Red Bulls movie before, though, and I know how it ends; with a summer swoon that leaves New York in the middle of the overall league table, one that has RBNY supporters everywhere wondering just what the heck happened. Instead of focusing on any such concerns, it's time for one last look back at what was nearly a perfect month for the team that is (technically) atop the MLS Eastern Conference table.

2013 New York Red Bulls May review: Player of the Month

Defender Jamison Olave had this one in the bag until he found himself responsible for a duo of gaffes that allowed Dominic Oduro to open the scoring for the visiting Columbus Crew on May 26. We don't forget even though we forgive, that despite Olave burying a tally of his own late in that same match. I am thus going with Tim Cahill, who seemingly out of nowhere became arguably New York's most consistent overall player over the past six weeks or so.

Cahill's May stats, two goals and one assist, don't jump out at you, but they also only tell so much of what he's meant to this team. It took a little bit longer than some had expected, but the former Everton star has adjusted to the MLS style of play in a way that has provided us with glimpses of the player of old. Assuming that his form continues, I truly believe that Cahill could quietly emerge as a 2013 MLS MVP candidate between now and the start of fall.

2013 New York Red Bulls May review: Examining PPG once again

New York's points earned per game situation improved slightly since a month ago, thanks in part to a 2-1 victory over Montreal Impact on May 8. The Red Bulls enter June atop the MLS East table, on 25 points after 15 games played. Montreal are on 23 points, but they've played only 11 league contests as of the end of May. Overall, the Impact are atop the "Points Per Game" table at 2.09. FC Dallas trail them by just .01. Behind those two clubs are Portland Timbers (1.69) and then RBNY and LA Galaxy (both at 1.67, but LA have only played 12 games).

What does all of this mean? In short, the Red Bulls are right now headed toward an overall top-five finish. Think back to January when this franchise as a whole had a lot more questions than answers. New York finishing behind just one Eastern Conference side and within reach of the Supporters' Shield is something I would have taken with a smile on my face and a song in my heart then.

2013 New York Red Bulls May review: Welcome back

Goalkeeper Ryan Meara officially returned from injury on May 29, keeping a clean sheet against a Reading side that was very much so overmatched. New York's 2012 number one until a hip problem sidelined him in the summer made every necessary play during the US Open Cup match, twice coming off his line with confidence and also denying the visitors a goal with what was the save of the game. All eyes will now turn toward the team's current first-choice 'keeper, who will have one shot to impress his head coach before the Red Bulls have a ten-day break.

Luis Robles was solid in May. If he stays true to form, the goalkeeper who has struggled with consistency could be due for a blunder or two when RBNY host Vancouver Whitecaps on the first Saturday of June. Sometimes, a little competition brings out the best in an athlete. Other guys crumble under the pressure. There's one thing everybody can be sure of:

Meara isn't going to want to remain sidelined for very long.

Zac has been covering New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.

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