Ex-Metro Diego Serna (right), keeping a step ahead of Dema Kovalenko, is training with the Red Bulls in pre-season camp.
Ernesto Motta/Red Bulls
By Michael Lewis
Diego Serna, who was a MetroStar for about two months in 2002, is working out with the Red Bulls, the team confirmed Monday afternoon.
Serna, 34, is training with the team at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. He earned a reputation as a high-scoring forward who took off on unannounced trips to his native Colombia whenever he felt like it.
"I don't know if he's the type of player Juan Carlos is looking for," one west- coast source said of coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Picked up in the dispersal draft after the league folded the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, the Metros dealt Serna to the New England Revolution in May, 2002 in a six-player blockbuster deal that brought controversial striker Mamadou Diallo to the club. Serna scored once with the Metros.
Serna last performed in MLS with the Colorado Rapids at the tail end of the 2005 season. He most recently has played with Nacional Fast Club in Brazil.
Osorio, who is also Colombian, already has an exciting and productive one-two punch of Juan Pablo Angel (19 goals in 24 MLS games) and Jozy Altidore (eight goals in 22 appearances) up front with Francis Doe and John Wolyniec to come off the bench or make an occasional start.
A dependable third forward could be a key player for the Red Bulls this season. Depending on his progress and whether the U.S. Under-23 National Team qualifies for the Olympic Games in China, the 18-year-old Altidore could miss several games.
According to one observer, Osorio still has his periscope up for a left-footed central defender and left-sided midfielder and he's "not having an easy time finding" one. He also wants an attacking midfielder.
If he doesn’t find at least one central defender it “could be a long season,” for the Red Bulls as one observer put it.
With the European transfer window closed, it won't be easy to get someone at the moment unless he comes via a free transfer or buy out his contract early. The MLS transfer window is open through April 15.
Osorio said that he is willing to wait until the MLS transfer window opens again in June.
During training, Osorio has used a four-man back four and has told the team to play on the ground, but direct.
He hasn't been pleased with the play of right midfielder Dema Kovalenko, according to one source.
"He's got his work cut out for him," one observer said of Osorio.