Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - There is no such thing as a dull offseason for Red Bull New York, which enters its 20th MLS season perpetuating its constant state of turnover.
After reaching the Eastern Conference finals and coming to within one goal of reaching MLS Cup last season, the Red Bulls tore up the flight map and started from scratch.
Star player Thierry Henry retired from professional soccer while fellow Designated Player Tim Cahill left the club for Shanghai Shenhua, leaving New York with sizable gaps to fill.
And as if that wasn't enough of an overhaul, fan-favorite head coach Mike Petke was let go after just two seasons at the helm despite guiding the club to the MLS Supporters' Shield in 2013, the franchise's first and only piece of major silverware.
Jesse Marsch was tabbed as the new boss amid a great deal of uproar from Red Bulls fans, and the former Montreal Impact head coach immediately began reshaping the squad to fit his philosophy.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied the single-season scoring record last year with 28 goals, was signed to a DP contract, immediately becoming the face of the team.
The Red Bulls then executed a trade with Montreal that sent Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo, an international player spot and allocation money to the Impact in exchange for Felipe Martins and the top spot in the allocation order.
Marsch leveraged that position to land United States international Sacha Klejstan, a former teammate of his at Chivas USA. Klejstan brings a great deal of international experience to the Red Bulls having made a total of 180 appearances with Belgian side Anderlecht and 46 appearances with the United States national team. The 29-year-old should fill the creative void left by Henry.
The Red Bulls feel confident with their performance at the MLS SuperDraft, as well. Despite making the 18th overall selection, New York secured the services of UCLA midfielder Leo Stolz, a player Marsch rated as one of the most pro- ready talents available.
New York bolstered the attack with the signing of Sal Zizzo from expansion side New York City FC as well as the re-signing of winger Lloyd Sam. The club also added a bit of depth in the center of the park by securing Duke University product Sean Davis as a Homegrown Player.
Jamison Olave was dealt back to Real Salt Lake during the offseason while Ibrahim Sekagya retired and joined the club's technical staff, leaving the Red Bulls to shore up the defense with the signings of Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Damien Perrinelle and Ronald Zubar.
With a core group of Dax McCarty, Roy Miller and Peguy Luyindula also returning, Marsch appears to have assembled a quality side capable of accomplishing a great deal. But no New York head coach has ever lasted more than three seasons, so it's safe to say that Marsch will be on a short leash.
ADDITIONS: Andrew Jean-Baptiste (D), Sacha Klejstan (M), Felipe Martins (M), Leo Stolz (M), Sal Zizzo (M), Ronald Zubar (D).
LOSSES: Eric Alexander (M), Tim Cahill (M), Thierry Henry (F), Jamison Olave (D), Ambroise Oyongo (D), Ibrahim Sekagya (D).
OUTLOOK: After another offseason overhaul, the Red Bulls will need to acclimate to life under Jesse Marsch. New York boasts enough quality in its roster to sneak into the postseason, which would be a nice accomplishment for the new-look team. But the club's first season under Marsch will be about laying the foundation to achieve greater long-term success, even if the turnover results in a playoff absence for the first time since 2009.