Veteran New York soccer writer Michael Lewis examines the state of affairs at the New York Red Bulls and calls the MLS club an "underachieving joke of a team," saying they need to clean house, beginning at the top with sporting director and general manager Erik Soler and coach Hans Backe.
Heading into Saturday's crucial game against the Portland Timbers, the Red Bulls are 7-7-15 after an embarrassing 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake at home and would not make the playoffs if they were held today.
Lewis says Soler and Backe "don't understand the American game and worse, they don't want to." He says Backe has little or no patience in developing players. "If you don't believe me," Lewis adds. "take a look on how many he has used this season. It's almost as though Tim Ream was an accident last year."
NYRB management's errors include putting most of its eggs in one basket with Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez making more the $10 million but few players capable of contributing off the bench, not planning for players being gone due to the Gold Cup in June and trading for and then unloading Canadian star Dwayne De Rosario.
Perhaps Lewis' severest criticism is that, according to a source close to the team, "Backe does not watch many MLS and his game preparation and scouting is well, sketchy." If true, Lewis says Backe should be fired for gross negligence.