|photo from New York Red Bulls
by Daniel Feuerstein
On a late Friday afternoon the New York Soccer media came to Red Bull Arena to finally meet with new Head Coach Sandro Schwarz and the Head of Sport Jochen Schneider. Watching his introduction after the first half of his pre-season calendar and his intro video a few weeks ago by the club, has shown the kind of confidence rarely seen from a manager coming over from Europe to MLS.
Hans Backe showed that same type of confidence when Red Bull Arena opened back in 2010, but Schwarz looked comfortable and confident sitting at the podium while discussing himself and what he plans to do for the season in this new era. What hasn't been seen before are the few moments when both Schwarz and Schneider chuckled and laughed in between questions.
Was it nerves or was he truly excited to be here and happy to get things going again when they travel to California for the Coachella Valley Invitational. But what was really impressive about Schwarz was that he was already on the front foot by attending some MLS matches last summer to get a real understanding of how this league plays and the true quality of the league. Also, he said that he spoke to both former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch and current US Men's National team head Coach Gregg Berhalter.
That is a huge move by Schwarz to understand that he can't take this league for granted. To chat with two men who have managed in Major League Soccer, and have experience winning in this league, is very valuable for a new manager who comes over from Europe. I applaud Schwarz for making these strategic moves to familiarize himself with MLS. There have been too many managers coming over to the league.
But what's very important for Schwarz is to make sure that he knows what's in front of him. To play the only way to earn the wins and have a successful season, and that is always the Red Bull way.
"Everyone knows how we want to play, the identity of Red Bull. With high intensity, first of all, and very aggressive against the ball. But, in my opinion, it’s also then necessary that we find solutions with the ball and that we have controlled situations with the ball -- I think you need this in every phase of the game. The Red Bull soccer identity is more than only to have a game idea -- this is the main goal for us, the main goal for the supporters in our stadium, in our home games. What I have seen the last two weeks in our preseason are big steps in the development of the players: How we want to press, to find the right moments, to find the right timing for these situations, but then to have the right position in our ball position to come direct, and also in the counter pressing situations."
He has already done that in the first three matches in the pre-season and can do that in the second phase of the pre-season. But once the referee blows the whistle down at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee, that's when they will truly getting down to business.