What was possibly the worst kept secret in the history of the New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and all of planet earth, itself (OK, maybe stretching a bit there) was revealed to be true on Thursday afternoon. The New York Red Bulls have themselves a new designated player, one who will hopefully be the final piece needed to bring the MLS Cup to Harrison, New Jersey.
New York announced via the team's official website on Thursday that they have signed Australian midfielder Tim Cahill. The terms of the deal were not disclosed per MLS and club regulations, but the Daily Mail has reported a £1m fee for the Everton star and Australian international. It has been widely speculated throughout the week that Cahill would put pen to paper on a three-year deal with RBNY.
Cahill signing with New York was the announcement Red Bulls fans had been waiting for since Cahill made his trip across the ocean earlier in the week for a medical. He was spotted at the 2012 MLS All-Star Game, and it was practically announced during the ESPN broadcast of that match that Cahill was set to be New York's next acquisition. The 32-year old is the team's third DP (along with team captain Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez), and he will be inserted right into New York's starting eleven upon officially joining the club pending his receiving the P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate. According to the team announcement, Cahill will be introduced to the media this coming Monday, which indicates that he will miss Saturday's Montreal Impact vs. RBNY match.
Listed at 5-10 and 150 pounds, Cahill is a gritty play-maker who may not need as long to adjust to the MLS style of play as have other players coming from European leagues. He's great in the air, something that should benefit a New York team that is, to say it nicely, not all that good at executing set pieces, and his background and past experiences playing in Australia will, in theory, come in handy during the hottest time of the year.
With all of that said, this move also seems like somewhat of a "Plan B" for the Red Bulls. Both head coach Hans Backe and general manager/sporting director Erik Soler had, throughout this past spring, stated that they wanted to bring in a younger CAM/DP. While Cahill is certainly not an old man, the midfielder who turns 33-years old this December was never a name that came up in any New York transfer rumors until this past week.
The immediate question with Cahill's arrival is simple: Who in the staring eleven sits down? Dax McCarty, perhaps the biggest MLS All-Star snub of 2012, has more than earned his spot in the lineup. The trio of Sebastien Le Toux, Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry have clicked since the team traded for Le Toux two weeks ago, and I see no reason to break it up. Backe isn't playing fewer than four defenders in a game unless he has no other option because of injuries and/or suspensions. That leaves the much-maligned Rafa Marquez, who is currently injured, and team leader Joel Lindpere. Fans may not love Marquez, but the Red Bulls haven't lost this season when the Mexican international has been in the lineup.
Let the "Marquez to Atlas/Chivas USA/anywhere but RBNY" rumors begin.
Thursday's announcement makes one thing very clear: The Red Bulls are now at ultimate "Win Now" status, perhaps more than ever before in the history of the franchise. Backe and Soler could both be looking for new jobs this winter if the season doesn't end with Henry receiving and lifting the MLS Cup, especially if the team's failure comes because Cahill proves to be a "too many cooks" type of deal, or if Backe is unable to manage his squad moving forward.
No pressure, guys.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Red Bulls
- Tim Cahill
- New York
- Thierry Henry