The press conference with New York Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch at the 2017 MLS Superdraft had an odd feel to it. How else could it be when you return from a trip and learn that Chris Armas was the new coach of the Red Bulls and you were taking over for Red Bull Saltzberg.
Marsch started off by confirming he was not heading anywhere. But the situation begged many questions. For starters why did the Red Bulls organization not refute this rumor when it went to flight and what source started the ball rolling? Marsch apparently was somewhere, but not Austria.
“Since the new year I haven’t been in Salzburg, I’ve been in Portugal with Leipzig,” Marsch explained, “I’m the New York Red Bulls coach.”
It surely didn’t seem that way as he did not attend the three-day MLS Combine which led to the Red Bulls selecting Zeiko Lewis and Ethan Kutler with their first two picks of the MLS Superdraft. The coach put a lot of trust in his staff which stayed in contact with him as he spent his time in Lisbon.
“We decided to split our responsibilities to have them go to the combine,” Marsch pointed out, “I watched the games online and through video. I’m familiar with all the players in the college game now.”
But Red Bulls fans are not familiar with this version of Marsch.
The ho-hum way Marsch and the Red Bulls dealt with this bit of mis-information is disturbing. He described the two draft picks as versatile and fast players but with a defense that needs re-tooling, he is too satisfied with the Homegrown player option and the Academy with its “embarrassment of riches” to solve the problem.
Marsch went on to say that he “liked his team” implying there is only a tweaking needed here. But as he heard that some players were practicing in New Jersey for their upcoming Champions League game against Vancouver.
One can only hope that he sees that game and the pre-season as worthy of attending in person.