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5. MLS COUNTDOWN: Reyna leads New York revival quest
March 25th, 2007 2:32PM



By Mike Woitalla

The New York Red Bulls (nee MetroStars) are hands down the most disappointing MLS club over the league's first 11 seasons.

Their 157 regular-season losses are a league record in futility and to have trophy-less team in its biggest market must be especially frustrating for MLS.

Big-name coaches and an array of domestic and foreign stars have failed at the franchise.

So will the 12th season be any different?

That will depend on Bruce Arena and Claudio Reyna - two American soccer icons facing the biggest challenge of their long careers - and a teenager with the potential to become the next great American forward.

Before his eight years at the helm of the U.S. national team - which included the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal run - Arena coached the most successful and entertaining team in MLS history, D.C. United (1996-98).

Before that, he led college soccer's greatest teams - the Virginia squads that won five titles in six years (1989-94).

Arena arrived at the Red Bulls for last 12 regular-season games of 2006 -- compiling a 4-5-3 record and squeaking into the playoffs, where they fell to D.C. United.

Now the Arena era starts for real - and he has brought Reyna, his captain with the USA and the player with whom he won three NCAA titles at the University of Virginia.

But to get Reyna, Arena discarded Honduran Amado Guevara, the team's most effective attacking player.

So Reyna must play a more attacking role than he did in the later stages of his 13-year career in Europe, which culminated with Manchester City, where his central midfield role included much defensive toil.

With the support of Dema Kovalenko, Reyna should able to focus on orchestrating offense, but the Red Bulls are woefully short of goalscorers.

Dutch left winger Dave van den Bergh, 30, was acquired from Kansas City in the offseason and Austrian midfielder Markus Schopp, 33, arrived late last season from Red Bull Salzburg.

Both have long careers with European clubs behind them, but neither have scored often.

Forward John Wolyniec scored more than five times only once in his eight MLS seasons.

That puts the scoring burden on 17-year-old Josmer Altidore, who notched three goals in 330 minutes of regular season play and scored New York's only playoff goal in 2006.

1 Danny Cepero (Univ. of Pennsylvania)
18 Jon Conway (New York Red Bulls)
23 Ronald Waterreus (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)
2 Marvell Wynne (New York Red Bulls)
4 Carlos Mendes (New York Red Bulls)
16 Todd Dunivant (New York Red Bulls)
22 Tim Regan (Chivas USA)
26 Taylor Graham (New York Red Bulls)
31 Hugh MacDonald (Monmouth College)
60 Jeff Parke (New York Red Bulls)
- Hunter Freeman (Colorado Rapids)
6 Seth Stammler (New York Red Bulls)
7 Mike Magee (New York Red Bulls)
8 Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Univ. of Akron)
10 Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, England)
11 Dave van den Bergh (Kansas City Wizards)
12 Blake Camp (New York Red Bulls)
13 Elie Ikangu (New York Red Bulls)
14 Joe Vide (New York Red Bulls)
21 Dema Kovalenko (New York Red Bulls)
25 Sal Caccavale (American Univ.)
32 Markus Schopp (New York Red Bulls)
15 John Wolyniec (New York Red Bulls)
17 Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls)
19 Dane Richards (Clemson Univ.)
28 Jerrod Laventure (New York Red Bulls)
29 Randi Patterson (UNC Greensboro)

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