Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Osorio method forges Red Bulls' winning mentality
by Ridge Mahoney, November 18th, 2008 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

A goalie, especially a young one, might be the worst player to ask about how a successful head coach manages and prepares a team.

Keepers are a breed apart in many ways, and often train separately with their own coach, doing their own drills, living in their own world. Still, the goalie, isolated in his own penalty area for long stretches of a match, has the proper vantage point and plenty of time to peruse the product of a coach's labors.

The tinkering of lineups and personnel and formations and tactics by Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio has attracted much notice and some disdain, but as keeper Danny Cepero notes, the Osorio Method is as much about what a player is between the ears as what he does between the lines.

"In terms of his skills and what he brings as a coach, he's very adamant and very focused on keeping us mentally prepared," says Cepero, a veteran of just five pro games who is one step shy of winning an MLS Cup. "You can talk tactics until you're blue in the face, but at the end of the day it comes down to mental toughness, and he's very keen on keeping us in the mindset where we need to be confident."

Players lost to retirement, injuries and suspensions yielded a roller-coaster season and not until the last few weeks could Osorio settle on a lineup. Some of his choices were forced - MLS slapped 10-game bans on defender Jeff Parke and goalie Jon Conway, an injury ended the season for midfielder Seth Stammler - but Osorio also benched three of his four midseason international signings.

Steeling the center of midfield with rookie Luke Sassano and second-year pro Sinisa Ubiparipovic may have deprived New York of some experience, but it has worked well enough. The one midseason signing retained in the starting lineup, Diego Jimenez, overcame poor performances in recent months to further strengthen the middle, and Chris Leitch, who has ping-ponged between Columbus and New York in his seven pro seasons, has held solidly at right back.

There's been a lot of luck involved winning at Houston (3-0) and Real Salt Lake (1-0) in the playoffs, but stats are facts, and the Red Bulls have allowed just one goal in three postseason games. Cepero's saves have bailed out his team on a dozen occasions, but good goalkeeping has long been a staple of MLS playoff success.

This defensive resilience seems impossible from the same team that lost during the season by scores of 5-4, 4-0, 4-1, 5-1, and nearly blew its playoff chances in a 5-2 pounding at Chicago in its last game. New York backed into the playoffs when Columbus - now there's irony - beat D.C. United in the last game of the season.

"As I mentioned before, it's to keep telling the guys that if we defend properly, we are competitive," says Osorio. "We play within the rules, we're aggressive in a controlled manner, if we play for each other, we play with each other, we compete for each other and we just keep clean sheets, we'll always have a chance to score goals, as we proved in the last games."

The Fire put those five goals past Cepero in his second pro game, after he'd debuted by scoring an 80-yard goal against Columbus in a 3-1 win. If there's one player whose confidence could have been shattered, it would have to be a 23-year-old goalie who spent most of the season on-loan to USL-2 club Harrisburg and got thrown into the nets by Conway's suspension.

Osorio and goalkeeper coach Des McAleenan didn't let that happen. Toughening their young keeper is why they sent him to Harrisburg in the first place. "It wasn't like I was heartbroken at the end of the game," says Cepero. "You lose games. That's just the reality of things. Goals are scored against you and sometimes there's only so much you can do.

"We need to believe and have that desire, that passion that I was talking about earlier. In the league, there's so much parity and there's so much equality amongst the teams that at the end of the day it's the mental strength and the ability to maintain focus for 90 minutes. That's what's going to carry teams through."

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Report | Jill Ellis to get new national team contract    
Jill Ellis' 15-month contract with U.S. Soccer ended Friday, but don't expect that situation to last ...
CCL: Sounders motivated for pay-back against 'Caps    
Just four days after the Vancouver Whitecaps celebrated -- a little too much to their opponent's ...
CCL: Plata and Rimando star in Real Salt Lake win    
Real Salt Lake ended its six-game losing streak on the road when Joao Plata's goal in ...
Neeskens and Bover make All-NPSL First Team    
John Neeskens, son of former Dutch great Johan Neeskens, and New York Cosmos B teammate Ruben ...
What They're Saying: Swindon Town owner Lee Power    
"If I was a head of a Man United or a Liverpool, this is something I'd ...
Atlanta United wins approval for $30 million complex    
Atlanta United FC, the MLS expansion team that will begin play in 2017, received approval -- ...
Hubbub roils StubHub for Dos Santos introduction    
A huge throng at LAX when his plane landed Sunday, dozens of cameras and reporters at ...
Johannsson set for $5 million move to Werder Bremen     
Aron Johannsson, the Icelandic product who has played for the USA since 2013, is leaving Dutch ...
What They're Saying: Representative Xavier Becerra    
"We believe that the [MLS] championship has been won with your signing, and we're looking for ...
Sounders beef up attack with Austrian Ivanschitz    
Seattle has taken steps to kick-start its sputtering attack, which hasn't scored in the last four ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives