New York Red Bulls Profile
|Major Honours||MLS Supporters' Shield (3)|
Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez and Tim Howard among the stars to have pulled on the Red Bulls' jersey.
The New York Red Bulls were founder members of MLS but were called New York/New Jersey MetroStars until 1998, after which they referred to themselves as just MetroStars.
The team was sold to Red Bull in 2006, rebranding as the New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls have played at Giants Stadium and Red Bull Arena, both in New Jersey. They had MLS exclusivity for the New York metropolitan area until 2015, when New York City FC joined the league. The two teams have competed in the hotly-contested Hudson River Derby ever since.
The Red Bulls/MetroStars have never won an MLS title, but they did make the MLS Cup final in 2008. They have three regular-season titles under their belt with Supporters' Shield trophies in 2013, 2015 and 2018. They have also reached the US Open Cup final twice but had to settle for the runners-up spot in 2003 and 2017.
The New York franchise has drawn some big name players, both American and international. Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Clint Mathis, Giovanni Savarese, Juan Pablo Angel, Daniel Royer, Tony Meola, Tim Howard, Tab Ramos, Eddie Pope, Claudio Reyna, Sacha Kljestan and Luis Robles have all featured for the side.
Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena have served as managers, as has current Red Bull Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch. Marsch is the only manager in team history to last more than three calendar years as they have employed 17 managers in the first 25 years of their existence. Former US men's national team players Alexi Lalas and Jeff Agoos have worked as general managers, as has Arena.
Early woe for the MetroStars
The MLS was founded off the back of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, which was hosted in the United States. The New York franchise was awarded to John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick. Kluge owned a media company called Metromedia and named the team MetroStars instead of buying the rights to the Cosmos, the former New York team in the NASL. They brought in USMNT midfielder Tab Ramos and goalkeeper Tony Meola to go with Italian Roberto Donadoni and Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese. The team played at the Giants Stadium, the home of the NFL's Giants and Jets.
The 1996 team had big-name players and former Cosmos manager Eddie Firmani on the bench. Despite this, the season was a disaster, starting with an own goal in a 1-0 loss to New England in their first-ever game. Firmani lasted just eight games with five losses before former Portugal national team coach Carlos Queiroz took over. With a new manager, they bounced back to win 12 more games and snuck into the play-offs before falling to eventual champions D.C. United.
Queiroz was replaced by Carlos Alberto Parreira for the 1997 season. Savarese finished third in the MLS with 14 goals, but the MetroStars finished in last place in the East and missed the play-offs.
In 1998, they got back into the play-offs with a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference under manager Alfonso Mondelo. However, they then fell to the Columbus Crew in the first round of the post-season, losing both legs of the series. Savarese again led the team with 14 goals, while they also added young goalkeeper Tim Howard for his MLS debut.
Former USMNT manager Bora Milutinovic took over for the 1999 season and the MetroStars endured their worst MLS season to that point. They won just seven of 32 games and finished dead last, firing Milutinovic after the season.
The MetroStars brought in Octavio Zambrano to manage the team in 2000 and introduced German superstar Lothar Matthaus from Bayern Munich. He saw action in just 16 games, but the team improved enough to top the newly-formed Eastern Division. Forward Clint Mathis set a league record with five goals against Dallas Burn on August 26. In the play-offs, the MetroStars beat Dallas in the first round, with Mathis scoring three goals across the two games. In the semi-finals, they fell to Chicago Fire in a three-game series, being outscored 6-4.
In 2001, the MetroStars returned to the play-offs, losing in the first round to LA Galaxy. Howard was the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and the MLS Humanitarian of the Year. Brazilian Rodrigo Faria was named the MLS Rookie of the Year. The MetroStars also played in the Copa Merconorte, going 3-3 in the group stage and failing to qualify for the knockout round. They missed the play-offs in the 2002 season and once again made a coaching change.
Bradley arrives but can't claim trophy
Heading into the 2003 season, the MetroStars hired New Jersey native Bob Bradley to be their new manager. Bradley had already had success in college soccer and won multiple MLS titles, first as an assistant to Bruce Arena at D.C. United and then as the head man in Chicago. The MetroStars finished third in the East in 2003 but lost in the first round of the play-offs to New England. They also made a run to the US Open Cup final with wins over New England, Columbus Crew and D.C. United. They hosted the final at Giants Stadium but lost to Chicago Fire 1-0 on October 15.
Howard left for England after the 2003 season, signing with Manchester United. The MetroStars returned to the play-offs with a third-place finish in the East in 2004. They were shutout in both play-off games by D.C. United. They claimed their first trophy in Spain at the La Manga Cup, defeating Dynamo Kiev and Viking FK. The win was the first by an MLS team outside of North America.
Bradley didn't make it through the 2005 season as he was fired on October 4. Mo Johnston took over for the rest of the campaign and the team snuck into the play-offs in the final spot. They beat New England 1-0 on October 22 in the first leg of the series but were eliminated a week later with a 3-1 away defeat.
The Red Bull takeover
Johnston stayed on as coach for the 2006 season as the team was sold to Austrian energy drink company Red Bull GmbH on March 9. The team was rebranded as Red Bull New York, referred to by the league and media as New York Red Bulls. The new ownership group also started a stadium project in Harrison, New Jersey.
The new owners fired Johnston in July and brought in Brooklyn native Bruce Arena, who left the US national team after the 2006 World Cup. They also signed Claudio Reyna as a Designated Player during the season. On August 23, the Red Bulls saw 16-year-old striker Jozy Altidore make his debut in the US Open Cup. The Red Bulls again were the last team into the play-offs in the East, and they were eliminated in the first round by D.C. United.
In 2007, the Red Bulls drew 66,238 fans to a game at Giants Stadium against LA Galaxy as international superstar David Beckham made his MLS debut. Arena led New York to the play-offs that campaign, but they again fell in the first round without scoring a goal. Arena resigned after the season was done.
Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio came in from Chicago Fire. Altidore was sold to Spanish side Villarreal in 2008 and Reyna retired. The Red Bulls finished fifth in the East before an underdog play-off run. They upset No. 1 seed Houston in the first round with two goals from Juan Pablo Angel. In the conference finals, they knocked out Real Salt Lake 1-0 as Dave van den Bergh scored in the 28th minute. In their first-ever MLS Cup final, the Red Bulls fell 3-1 to Columbus Crew after John Wolyniec had levelled the game in the 51st minute.
Looking to build on this, the 2009 season turned out to be a disaster, with a 16-game winless streak overall and a 23-game run without a victory away from home. They were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League in the group stage and Osorio resigned on August 21. The Red Bulls finished the season with a league-worst 21 points.
Henry, Marquez, Cahill and a new stadium
The Red Bulls moved out of Giants Stadium and into Red Bull Arena ahead of the 2010 season. Swedish manager Hans Backe took over as manager and French legend Thierry Henry joined the team in July. They also added Mexican defender Rafael Marquez in August and finished on top of the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2000. The jump from last place to first place saw an MLS-record improvement of 30 points in one season. However, the play-offs were not as successful, as the Red Bulls were eliminated early by the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Red Bulls had an up-and-down 2011 season but made the play-offs once again. They fell in the quarter-finals to LA Galaxy, and the highlight of the season was winning a friendly tournament in London, hosted by Arsenal FC.
The Red Bulls signed defender Tim Cahill during the 2012 season and finished third in the East. Again they fell in the first play-off series, this time to D.C. United, and Backe was let go. Assistant manager Mike Petke, a former Red Bulls player, took over. Marquez left before the 2013 season, but the Red Bulls went on a two-month unbeaten stretch during the campaign. They not only won the East but also took the Supporters' Shield with the best record in MLS. Once again, they lost in the first round of the play-offs though, drawing 2-2 at Houston and losing 2-1 in overtime at home.
In 2014, the Red Bulls finished fourth in the East and hosted a knockout round play-off game. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice, including the winner in the 90th minute to eliminate Sporting Kansas City 2-1. Wright-Phillips scored again in a 2-0 first-leg win over D.C. United and despite losing the away leg 2-1, the Red Bulls made it through to the conference finals. Their run ended there with a 4-3 aggregate loss to New England, with a 2-1 home defeat in the first leg causing the damage. Henry retired after the season and Cahill was released, while Petke was let go two months after the season ended.
Former Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch took over for the 2015 season. The Red Bulls acquired USMNT midfielder Sacha Kljestan and promoted academy product Matt Miazga. The Red Bulls racked up 60 points during the season to win both the East and the Supporters' Shield. In the play-offs, they eliminated D.C. United with a pair of 1-0 wins as Wright-Phillips and Dax McCarty scored. The season ended in the conference finals with a 2-1 aggregate loss to No. 2 seed Columbus Crew.
In 2016, the Red Bulls set a new MLS record for margin of victory as they thrashed local rivals New York City FC 7-0 at Yankee Stadium. They again finished atop the East standings and made the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in the team's history. In the 2016 MLS Cup play-offs, the Red Bulls were upset in the East semi-finals by Montreal Impact, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
Captain McCarty was sold to Chicago Fire before the 2017 season, and defender Tyler Adams was brought in as a homegrown talent. The Red Bulls made their second US Open Cup final appearance but lost to Sporting Kansas City 2-1. They finished sixth in the East in the MLS regular season and lost in the play-offs to Toronto FC in the quarter-finals.
During the 2018 season, the Red Bulls eliminated Tijuana in the last eight of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-0 win in Mexico before they fell to Chivas in the semi-finals. Marsch left the team with the most wins in team history as he joined German side RB Leipzig. Assistant manager Chris Armas took over on July 6 and led the Red Bulls to another Supporters' Shield with 71 points. In the first round of the play-offs, the Red Bulls eliminated Columbus 3-1 on aggregate as Daniel Royer scored twice. But in the East finals, they fell to Atlanta United 3-1 on aggregate, with a 3-0 away defeat in the first leg.
In January 2019, Adams was sold to RB Leipzig for $3million. The Red Bulls followed an up-and-down season as they finished sixth in the East and made the play-offs. In the knockout round, they led at Philadelphia Union 3-1 at half time but lost 4-3 in extra time. Wright-Phillips left for LAFC after the season, leaving a large void in the Red Bulls' attack.
The 2020 MLS season was interrupted by COVID-19 after just two regular-season games. At the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando in July, Red Bulls beat Atlanta United but lost to Columbus and FC Cincinnati. They were therefore eliminated in the group stage. With just one win from their first four MLS games after the tournament, Armas was fired, and Bradley Carnell managed the team until October 6. Gerhard Struber was brought in from Barnsley in England to finish the season. The team finished sixth in the East but lost at Columbus Crew 3-2 in their first play-off game.
New York Red Bulls' rivals
The Red Bulls' oldest rival is D.C. United and the teams play for the Atlantic Cup. There have been nearly 100 meetings between the two sides, with United holding a 44-36 advantage. In the play-offs, the Red Bulls have four wins to seven for D.C. The teams have met three times in the US Open Cup and D.C. United have prevailed twice.
The Hudson River Derby started in 2015 when New York City FC joined MLS. The Red Bulls won the first-ever game between the two at home on May 10, 2015, and the games have seen multiple brawls in the stands between supporters. The Red Bulls have multiple US Open Cup wins against NYCFC and beat their rivals by an MLS-record seven goals in 2016.
They also have geographic rivalries against both the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution. The rivalry against the Revs stems from the battles between New York and Boston in other sports like the Yankees/Red Sox in baseball, the Patriots/Jets in football, the Knicks/Celtics in basketball and the Rangers/Bruins in hockey.
New York Red Bulls' top players
Among the biggest names to play for the Red Bulls are USMNT stars Tim Howard, Tony Meola, Jozy Altidore, Tab Ramos, Eddie Pope and Claudio Reyna. On the international side, they have signed Thierry Henry, Giovanni Savarese, Juan Pablo Angel, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer and Rafael Marquez.
Goalie Luis Robles holds the team record for most games played at 281. Wright-Phillips has scored the most goals in team history with 126 as well as the most goals in a single season at 27 in 2014. Sacha Kljestan holds the team record for career assists (51) and assists in a single season with 20 in 2016.
Juan Pablo Angel scored 62 goals in 58 games from 2007-10, while Henry scored 50 goals in 51 games from 2010-14. Royer (50), Clint Mathis (45) and Savarese (44) are next on the career goals list for the Red Bulls.
Robles kept 89 clean sheets during his time in New York, with Meola (30) and Howard (17) next on the list.