Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Luke Rodgers Wants Back in MLS Via NY Red Bulls; Does New York Need Him?

Yahoo Contributor Network

It's never good to live in the past. Doing so prevents you from reaching your true potential in whatever it is you do in life, and it's often a complete waste of time. While some fans may fail to understand this point, it's one that is true in professional sports.

Today's example comes out of Major League Soccer. The New York Red Bulls have stumbled out of the gates at the start of the 2013 MLS season, picking up just two of a possible twelve points in March. Their lack of success doesn't simply have to do with struggles in the attacking third. The Red Bulls are, after all, averaging a goal per game. That should, looking at the standings heading into Easter Weekend, have them right in the middle of the conference and league tables.

Don't tell that to certain groups of New York supporters, who believe a hero of the past could be the shot in the arm these Red Bulls desperately need. Former RBNY striker Luke Rodgers, who was forced to leave the MLS outfit because of longstanding visa issues that couldn't get sorted out before the start of the 2012 season, is once again on the market after quitting Shrewsbury Town. He's also publicly talking about making a return to MLS.

Rodgers' New York stats don't necessarily jump out at you. He buried ten goals in 25 total appearances two seasons ago, but he was also slowed down in the middle of that same campaign by plantar fasciitis. His gritty style of play, not to mention his interactions with opposing players, made him an instant fan-favorite, and he could do no wrong in the eyes of his faithful followers who sang songs in his honor each and every time New York played at Red Bull Arena.

A lot has changed for both Rodgers and New York since the 2011 holiday season. The Red Bulls proved last season that players such as Rodgers aren't difficult to replace by signing Kenny Cooper, who found the back of the net 18 times in league play in 2012. New York now have Fabian Espindola, who would have at least four goals instead of two this season if not for some bad luck and the woodwork, in the Cooper/Rodgers role.

As for Rodgers, he is not leaving League One on good terms. He hasn't featured for Shrewsbury in the club's past six contests, and he scored just five goals across all competitions during the 2012-13 European season. Do the Red Bulls really need a 31-year old out-of-form striker? They already have such a player in Péguy Luyindula, someone who showed plenty of promise in his MLS debut at Montreal Impact on March 23.

If anything, New York truly need help at the back. Rookie head coach Mike Petke's high back line is a liability whenever Jamison Olave, who has already been held out of a league match because of an injury concern, cannot play. Left back Roy Miller could find himself in Petke's doghouse once he returns from international duty, which would leave CB Heath Pearce as the only proven option at LB.

Petke recently told the media that he and the RBNY front office would have to "look at the whole picture" before making a decision on Rodgers. While I rarely have a problem with a team taking a flier on any player, Rodgers would have to both be extremely impressive in training and also willing to sign at a discount for me to want to see him return to the Red Bulls. The club is going in a different direction, it is under a different administration, and it also has a rookie head coach who will hopefully be the first New York boss in franchise history to hoist a meaningful trophy.

Sometimes, you just have to move on.

For more: Can Luyindula save New York?

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

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (7)