Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
Cahill upgrades Red Bulls' attack yet again
by Ridge Mahoney, July 27th, 2012 1:19AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, new york red bulls


It won't be described as such, but Tim Cahill is essentially a replacement for Luke Rodgers, which for the sake of the game in this country is probably a good thing.

The Australian international, signed from Everton in a transfer deal worth a reported $1 million, has joined the Red Bulls and will be eligible to play once his work visa is issued and international transfer certificate secured. Unless his body just can’t handle the bruising and battering inherent in MLS, the Red Bulls have definitely upgraded, and not just by swapping a Designated Player for a journeyman.

Rodgers scored nine goals in 23 matches for New York last year following a protracted process by which the U.S. government temporarily blocked issuance of a P-1 visa because of several arrests he’d incurred while playing in the English lower divisions. Once he was arrested for assaulting an opposing player in a parking lot, and on another occasion a brawl outside a nightclub resulted in his arrest. He also paid a fine and served 100 hours’ community service for setting off a firework that struck a teenage girl in the face.

Though Rodgers steered clear of the law with the Red Bulls, once the season was done, visa problems arose again. When efforts to get him back for the 2012 season ran aground, his MLS contract was terminated.

He didn’t so much run as hurl himself forward, bludgeoning through tackles to get a foot or his head to the ball. Crude but effective, Rodgers provided a counterbalance to the skill and trickery of teammates Thierry Henry and Joel Lindpere. He also kept young U.S. international Juan Agudelo in the shadows, and when they couldn’t retain Rodgers the Red Bulls made other moves – such as getting Kenny Cooper in a trade – that included sending Agudelo to Chivas USA in exchange for Heath Pearce.

Cahill also plays a game rooted in ruggedness and effort. Several relatives play rugby, and his build resembles those of the tough, lean men who engage in the uniquely wild and frenzied game dubbed “Aussie Rules,” a frenetic mix of basketball, rugby, soccer, and American football. Strong on the ball and aggressive in the attacking third, he’s been a solid contributor with Everton and Australia, for which he played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

In eight seasons with Everton he scored 68 goals in all competitions, and 56 in 226 Premier League appearances. For the past few years he’s been bothered by shin and foot injuries, and though he managed to play 41 games last season (35 in the Premier League) he scored only three goals. At 32, he’s nearing that cusp where age and injuries sometimes trigger an inevitable decline.

Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Soler said, “He is the technical, physical presence we have been looking to add in our team and he brings a wealth of experience to our club having played in some of the highest levels of international soccer.” In simpler terms, he’s a quality attacker of relentless spirit who can torment MLS defenses, a real pain to play against.

How he’ll be deployed will be intriguing, since he’s a creator as well as a finisher though not really the traditional playmaker that some observers envision. Cahill is a factor on set plays, where sheer desire often decides who gets to the ball first. He’s not big (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) but he’s powerful.

As the team’s third DP, he strengthens an already potent attacking unit to which recent addition Sebastian Le Toux supplements Henry, Cooper and Lindpere. In effect, a swap of Le Toux for Agudelo not only punched up New York’s attack but prioritized this season over what might happen in the future.

New York may still have issues defensively but the offensive tactics won’t much matter if these guys get their games to mesh. They’ll be too explosive for most opponents to handle, and that’s a powerful element heading into the final third of the season.



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Donovan plays out third act of an amazing saga    
The career of Landon Donovan is winding down yet there are myriad possibilities of what the ...
It's much too soon to bring up the R-word    
The growing contingent of MLS players in the national-team pool has prompted fears they will regress ...
Soccer America's 20+3: our editors' World Cup selections    
That sound you heard across the country late last Wednesday night and early Thursday morning was ...
Wondo puts past disappointments behind him     
He may not make it to Brazil, but his goal against Mexico has erased a little ...
U.S. Player Ratings: Mexico rally taints superb first half for USA    
A disallowed goal, a two-goal lead that evaporated, Rafael Marquez on the scoresheet, a frenzied crowd ...
Midfield mates Bradley and Beckerman tune up with intriguing MLS battle    
A strong contingent of domestic players is likely headed to Brazil for the World Cup, with ...
Toronto FC rides into Real Salt Lake sleek and shiny    
The Toronto FC Watch moves to Utah, where nearly two years ago two very different teams ...
Consistency is the creed in 'Porterland'    
Fans may be concerned that the Timbers have yet to win in three games so far ...
Well, now what for MLS in the Concacaf Champions League?    
Another round of MLS-Liga MX matchups in the Concacaf Champions League has ended in disappointment for ...
Just how special is Julian Green?     
I suppose one has to recall Giuseppe Rossi to comprehend the excitement surrounding the decision of ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives