Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
There are a multitude of reasons to explain why the New York Red Bulls acquired Bobby Convey on Friday, but according to head coach Mike Petke, the biggest reason of all is Convey’s versatility.
The 30-year-old Convey is set to enter his 15th year in professional soccer in 2014 and over the years he’s become a player who can feature anywhere up and down the left flank, whether as a winger, midfielder, or left back. With the Red Bulls still under tight salary cap constraints and set to play in MLS, the U.S. Open Cup, and the CONCACAF Champions League next season, having a versatile athlete in the squad was a high priority heading into the offseason.
“Bobby is somebody who I inquired about to Ryan Nelsen once or twice during the season and he was very adamant about not letting him go,” Petke said during a teleconference. “I think that he saw what I saw in Bobby, which is somebody who was standing out for a team that was rebuilding.”
Petke later added: ”Bobby has played that left back position. He scored two goals against us in the playoffs from the left back position to knock us out in San Jose. He’s very versatile in that aspect. He’s a biting player, he likes to get into a tackle, he has quality on the ball and that’s someone that could for sure be used at times at the left back position as well.”
One of the keys to the deal’s completion was that Convey and the Red Bulls were able to rework his contract, which paid him at a base salary of $200,000 last season, to an amount that worked for both parties.
Here are some more notes from Petke’s teleconference:
SIGNING A THIRD DESIGNATED PLAYER IS A POSSIBILITY
As Petke and his coaching staff look to improve their squad ahead of the 2014 MLS regular season, a Designated Player signing remains a possibility.
The Red Bulls are considering a number of targets for their open DP spot, but as Petke repeatedly mentioned last season, the player has to fit a certain set of parameters determined by the staff and the ownership in Austria. However, if they do find a player that fits within those parameters, Petke believes that the team could make a Designated Player signing this offseason.
“Red Bull (ownership) is completely on board with a third DP in the right situation,” Petke said. “What the right situation is, there’s a lot of parameters to that. We are on the lookout for that (player) however, it’s not a situation that we’re running around screaming and pulling our hair out.
“Obviously it would be great if we could add that right person and we do have our eye on some players, knowing that if it is the right type of player for many aspects for Red Bull in Austria, they will be willing to pay for that. So if the right situation does present itself and things work out like we hope they do, there definitely could be a third DP added.”
PETKE HINTS AT SLIGHT CHANGE OF TACTICS
We saw it at times last season, but Petke is hoping that now with a full offseason to build a squad in his image, they can play the style he wants.
During the teleconference, Petke revealed that he is considering having the outside backs bomb forward on a consistent basis and provide an overlapping option.
“Next year I’m going to be demanding out of our outside backs, they need to get forward up and down that flank and get into the attack,” Petke said.
With Roy Miller reportedly nearing a new contract extension with the Red Bulls and the acquisition of Bobby Convey, Petke looks like he’s well on his way towards having more offensive-minded wing backs at his disposal for next season. With the departures of Brandon Barklage and David Carney after the end of this season, there’s likely to be more players that the Red Bulls will look to sign at the outside back position.
MILLER STILL IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH RED BULLS
Though there are reports circulating in Costa Rica that Roy Miller is coming back as a Red Bull next season, nothing has been made official yet from the Red Bulls front office.
Petke was mum on whether Miller had indeed signed a new contract, but the Red Bulls manager did admit that at the moment he is planning on Miller being in the squad next season.
“Andy is still in talks with him,” Petke said, referring to Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh. “I saw a new Roy after the beginning of the season and all that happened, and I think we saw a different Roy. Unfortunately with the injury he had, it’s a bit of a set back.
“It comes down to not only the player but also the salary cap and what we’re able to have and being able to agree on something. If it makes sense for both sides then there’s no reason why we couldn’t see Roy back with the Red Bulls next year.”
PETKE LOOKS FORWARD TO BATTLING KREIS IN IN 2015
One of the first people that Mike Petke reached out to when he was appointed Red Bulls head coach last February was Jason Kreis. Now, nearly 10 months later, the two are set to become rival coaches in the same metropolitan area.
Giving his thought’s on Kreis’ move from Real Salt Lake to New York City FC, Petke said that he believes that Kreis has raised the standard of coaching in the league and the Red Bulls head coach is looking forward to their first encounter in 2015.
“Jason to me, at this point, has become the standard of coaching in MLS as far as I’m concerned, and that’s no slight to anybody else,” Petke said. “I think the Bruce Arenas, the Peter Vermes, the Dominic Kinnears of this league are up to standard as well but Jason has definitely stepped up to that and I think this is a well deserved appointment.
“It’s a bold move for him, he knows that. I spoke with him earlier this week and told him I’m looking forward to battling him on the sidelines in 2015 but more importantly, grabbing a beer in New York now that he’s here.”
- Petke said that the decision to part ways with Brandon Barklage instead of Kosuke Kimura, even though Kimura is on a higher salary than Barklage, came down to what the technical staff and Roxburgh felt that they could get out of the two players.
- With his trip to England beginning Monday, Petke said that he’d be happy if he picks up at least one thing from watching training sessions of Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea.
- Petke said that even though Andre Akpan didn’t play much in 2013, one of the reasons he was signed to a new contract was because Petke expects the team’s depth to be tested even more this coming season, especially with CONCACAF Champions League on the schedule.
- Petke admitted that even though they are signing Convey, a good crosser, they aren’t looking specifically for a tall forward to be able to get on the end of those crosses.
- Convey and Petke were teammates on D.C. United in 2003 and part of 2004 before Convey moved abroad.
What do you think of these notes? Do you see Convey featuring as both a left back and left midfielder next season? Think the Red Bulls will find a DP they like this winter? Would you like to see more overlapping runs from the outside backs?
Share your thoughts below.