SNY.tv's Red Bulls writers Aaron Bauer and Brendan Joseph discuss why last year's two best regular season teams are in different places in 2016.
Aaron Bauer: So the Red Bulls play FC Dallas this Friday. This is a funny game because of how similar these teams were in 2015. They were both at the top of the league at the end of last year's regular season, tied on points, and showed a commitment to playing young players from their respective academies. They were both expected to compete for MLS Cup regularly for the next few years. Now, only Dallas has held up its end of the bargain, and the Red Bulls are trying to get on solid footing this year. What the heck happened?
Brendan Joseph: First, as must be stated with everything related to the Red Bulls right now, they were and continue to be devastated by injuries. Losing Gideon Baah and Gonzalo Veron, two players who were acquired with relatively large transfer fees and were expected to be starters, created gaps in the squad. The team trained for most of the preseason expecting to make the jump from the 4-2-3-1 to the 4-2-2-2 using Veron as a striker and Baah as a center back. Combine the injury issues and early-season rust with opposing teams parking the bus, and they are a team with two wins in eight matches.