BY DAVE MARTINEZ
A week to the day of their epic playoff ouster against D.C. United, the Red Bulls have capped off the firing of Hans Backe and the arrival of Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh with the offseason’s first four player cuts.
According to The Star-Ledger, New York have decided not to renew the contracts of long-time midfielders Jan Gunnar Solli and Teemu Tainio along with newcomers Bill Gaudette and Jose Angulo. Sources confirmed the moves to SBI on Thursday afternoon.
Solli, 31, was a favorite of former coach Hans Backe. Known for his work rate, versatility and his love of DJing, the Norwegian midfielder quickly became a staple to the lineup and a fan favorite. This season, the emergence of Connor Lade and the absence of Dane Richards relegated Solli and his skill set to the bench.
Teemu Tainio, who will turn 33 by months end, suffered through an injury plagued year. In fact, his career itself was in question by the coaching staff and organization for the better part of the season due to a severe knee tendon tear. Limited to all of 14 appearances, Tainio featured heavily in the run up to the Red Bulls postseason. Though effective, he clearly looked a step slower in his return.
Bill Gaudette, 31, became the odd man out in a three man field of capable goalkeepers. The solid play and lockerroom presence of Luis Robles along with the impressive half-season put in by the injured Ryan Meara created a foreseeable glut between the sticks. Gaudette, the veteran amongst this trio and a journeyman of the U.S. soccer pyramid, did well to stabilize the team during a mid-year rut but injuries prevented him from staking full claim to the starting position.
Finally, though affordable and a local product, Jose Angulo, 24, never managed to crack the lineup for New York and was deemed expendable as well.
A source close to the situation tells SBI these are “the first of a major overhaul of the team” this offseason. Who else will be in the firing line? Did these players deserve to see the door first? Share your thoughts below.