Championship Round Recap: Clyde Frazier’s Best Outfit

THE CHAMPIONSHIP

THE COW VS. SUBWAY CLYDE

Drama! Suspense! Fear! Tension! And what is shock, if not for awe? These finals had it all. When this bracket started, there was a collective scoff among all those familiar with Clyde’s style profile: no other look would dare try to challenge the famous Cow Suit. And really, until Subway Clyde, nothing did. But this one was a nail-biter throughout. In the first half of the contest, it seemed like an upset was imminent. But as we know from Aesop, slow and steady wins the race – and cows are anything but quick. In the end, the Cow Suit edged out Subway Clyde with just 51% of the votes. Old School Clyde may look like a hot young thing, but New School Clyde has experience on his side. He has perfected his Cool.

Champion: The Cow

WATCH: CLYDE’S REACTION TO THE WINNER

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How to Fix the Rangers’ Power-Play Outage

Steve Valiquette takes a closer look at why the Rangers power play has struggled and identifies how the team can improve it.

One of the concerns for the Rangers this season has been a lackluster power play.

Following a Stanley Cup Playoff run where a better performance with the man advantage could have lead to a Stanley Cup, the Rangers made this one of their priorities with the acquisition of Keith Yandle. This hasn’t paid dividends through his first 11 games. The Rangers have only scored two power-play goals with the extra man and have seen their shooting percentage drop from 10.8% to 6.7%, and their goals per 60 minutes go from 6.3 to 2.6.

This is a small sample size, but there is some reason to be concerned with a power play that isn’t creating high-quality green shots. When reviewing the Rangers’ shots with the man advantage, I noticed them taking a lot of red shots. Red shots are notoriously low-percentage shots because they provide the goaltender with clear sight range and allow them to set their depth and angles.

The issue is 63% of the Rangers’ shots on the power play have been of the red variety. They are only converting 2% of these opportunities. As I showed last week in regards to successful goal-scoring areas, we can see in the above graphic why green shots have a higher conversion rate. The Rangers are converting just over 1-in-4 on the power play, shooting 26% on green opportunities. They account for 88% of the goals scored even though they only make up 37% of the shots they produce with the man advantage.

To combat this, the Rangers need to create more movement on the power play. The nature of the penalty kill is to create a box around the slot and clog up the royal road. This makes it very difficult to cross it with possession and forces the offense to pass the puck through this well guarded domain.

So it becomes essential to create traffic and front the goaltender to create vision problems. Players like Rick Nash need to use their big bodies to create chaos in front of the goaltender. By setting their feet early and maintaining strong footwork, they can front the goaltender and cause vision issues for the goaltender as well as make life more difficult for the defensemen trying to move and contain them.

This layering can create multiple bodies in front of the goaltender that doesn’t just work as vision blockage on shots, but it can obscure the vision of the developing play. If you can cause even a fraction of a delay for the goaltenders visual recognition, you can delay not only the way he reads the play, but the way he reacts to it. Even if a shot never occurs, you can increase your efficiency on passes across the royal road by interrupting the goaltenders puck tracking. It also creates tip opportunities in the highest success area on the ice.

The most important thing it does is create vision issues for shots. Vision issues that also can lead to rebound opportunities because goaltenders either don’t see the shot, or are late in reacting to it. Another high-level green opportunity.

A strong net-front presence can also create goal opportunities for your defensemen, who the Rangers have struggled to get goal production from in 2014-15. Only six of their 35 goals have come from defensemen which matches PK Subban’s total alone in Montreal. As we can see in the above image, the green shots coming from above the faceoff circles are limited because the Rangers just aren’t getting enough of a net push.

It is easy to see why it becomes such a cliché for coaches to mention “net-front presence” over and over again, but a well-executed screen can contribute to a domino effect which leads to multiple green opportunities instead of low percentage red ones.

With some better execution in front of the net, the Rangers have the offensive talent to ease their fans concern of a repeat of their man advantage struggles during the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Mike Breen: Luckiest Man

I have frequently felt the urge to steal and use Lou Gehrig’s famous line about being “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” One of the reasons for that feeling is my relationship with Walt “Clyde” Frazier.

For over two decades now, I have had the privilege of calling Clyde my broadcast partner. More importantly, I have the honor of calling Clyde my friend.

Even to this day, that is hard for me to believe. As a kid growing up in Yonkers, Clyde was my basketball hero. The only poster I ever hung in my house was that of No. 10.

Now, I get to spend my nights sitting next to him and talk about Knicks basketball, among other things. I was so nervous when I first learned I would be broadcasting Knicks radio with Clyde. But from the very first broadcast, this Hall of Famer, this Knicks legend, warmly welcomed me and treated me with respect. Game after game, the viewers get to hear his knowledge and passion for basketball, plus his wonderful sense of humor.

George Kalinsky for Madison Square Garden

But it’s what he does off the air that I admire most. I have never seen a star player embrace and engage his fans with such affection as Clyde. The loyalty and the bond between Clyde and his fans is a sight to behold.

Clyde may have been born in Georgia, but he has become and will always be the quintessential New Yorker.

Happy 70th birthday my friend, and thanks for helping me feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

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Round 3 Recap: Clyde Frazier’s Best Outfit

NEW SCHOOL

THE COW VS. LEOPARD PRINT

Utter-ly dominant! This dairy-happy dynamo continues to steamroll its competition, as it defeats the Leopard Print with 72% of the votes. There was never really any doubt that the Cow Suit would cruise on into the finals, and this confirms it. On its way to the championship round, the Cow Suit was victorious over the Zig-Zag, Polka Dots and finally, the Leopard Print suits. The ultimate test is up next, as it will go up against the bracket’s top vote-getter overall, Subway Clyde.

Winner: The Cow

BACK IN THE DAY

 

WALT-TO-CLYDE VS. SUBWAY RIDE

The E train might be local now, but Subway Clyde has been running express since Round 1. It met its toughest competitor in Round 3, as it only edged out Walt-to Clyde with 59% of the votes. And, though this bracket took place during a tundra-esque winter, there were none of those lovely, cold weather-induced delays on this line. On its trip to the championship round, Subway Clyde defeated Mink Coat, Traveling Clyde and Walt-to Clyde. Next up, Subway Clyde will face the near impossible task of lassoing in the famed Cow Suit.

Winner: Subway Ride

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Fab 5 Freddy: So Fly

I was a youngster in the ’70s, and you if were street aware, a basketball fan and a New Yorker at that point in time, there was no way you could not acknowledge Walt “Clyde” Frazier. He would do this move where he would do a double pump, fake you out, you would jump, he would lean into you, make the shot, you would fall on him and it would be a guaranteed 3-point play. As a kid, I remember seeing that and thinking that was something he kind of owned at that time. He also played incredible defense and had this very cool way of bringing the ball down court.

When he and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe were both in the back court, it was a beautiful thing to watch them get busy. They were doing incredibly hectic stuff in a very cool and stylish way. Other players didn’t make it happen like that. Now it’s common: The street-ball thing became a big part of the game — a la Allen Iverson — and everyone post-Clyde. The NBA used to really frown on that flamboyant play until that became an attraction and a selling point.

Then of course then there was his personal style, which was much talked about. As a kid, looking at Clyde, I could see that he was just different than other players. He got the job done, but in a very stylish way. That was some real black stuff to do — taking the little we have and making it aspirational — like, I want to be like him, I want to walk like him, I want my hat to hang off my head like him. All these little subtle things were a way to hold your head up if you were black in America. And his way of playing basketball — the way he got it done — was the essence of being cool.

Photo: George Kalinsky for Madison Square Garden

[Bracket: What is Clyde’s Best Outfit?]

I had a pair of Clyde Pumas like other kids, and I wore them into the ground. See, at that time in New York, it hadn’t entered the super-fly, sexy sneaker era. It was more about wearing our sneakers down to the ground and with holes in the bottom. Unlike the Jordans later on, the Clydes didn’t have commercials or the big hype around them. But in terms of the being-cool-in-New-York-City thing, if you had a pair of those, it said a lot. So that was the beginning of the era during which sneakers were more than just shoes to play basketball in. They were shoes to look good and stylish in and Clyde’s sneakers helped usher that in.

One of the first movies that I went to see alone was Bonnie and Clyde. So I had the whole Bonnie and Clyde movie experience. And then soon after, Clyde got that nickname because he was dressing up in that type of gear. He had the mutton chops sideburns and there were photos of him in a Rolls Royce wearing something Bonnie and Clyde-inspired with the hat.

I remember some magazine did a profile on him where they showed this photo of his bedroom, and he had this round bed with a mink bedspread and a round mirror over the bed.  Whoa. That was something that was talked about by any and everybody! I don’t know about the round bed and the round mirror, but I wouldn’t mind having even a mink throw on my bed!

He’s a real stand out guy — being a stand out fashion guy has always been a part of his character — but what‘s also cool about it is that he’s got this very low-key, demure personality; one that you wouldn’t associate with someone who likes to wear these loud outfits. So that’s a unique combination in it of itself. I love the fact that he has introduced very colorful phrases into New York basketball fans’ lexicon, like “dishing and swishing” and “posting and toasting.”

The essence of having style is having the courage to go out and do something that no one is really doing. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that his pony and cow skin suits are a bit extreme for me, but I respect his stylistic courage and fortitude for thinking: ”I’m wearing this and I don’t care what anyone else thinks because I’m gonna rock it.” And I respect that because I understand that it’s key to what made black people’s style so unique.

We were doing stuff that nobody else was doing and didn’t care what anyone said. Like, I’m wearing this and I know it’s fly, and if you don’t dig it, I. DON’T. CARE. That’s a strong statement that’s really lacking right now. I want to see people take some chances because some of them are going to work!

Born in Brooklyn as Fred Brathwaite, artist, writer, director and all around connoisseur of cool, Fab 5 Freddy was catapulted into the spotlight when he was name checked on Blondie’s 1980’s hit “Rapture.” He was the original host of MTV’s seminal show YO! MTV Raps, has directed a number of music videos and his art has been exhibited around the world. 

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Quoth The Maven: The Playoff Push

 

@StanFischler

“Quoth The Maven” is a weekly column where Stan Fischler touches on the three local teams plus other hot NHL items.

1. Don’t Worry Department: The Rangers loss on Tuesday night should be chalked up to the NHL Law of Averages; no more, no less.

2. There should be no knock against Cam (The Prince) Talbot, Rick Nash or any other Ranger by the Panic Platoon out there — especially with King Henrik Lundqvist looming on the horizon.

3. There are lots of things to like about the Rangers, but one that tickles me most is that manner in which the Blueshirts blunt an attack, and then launch one of the fastest counterattacks in the biz. Poof! Just like that they’re off with a three-on-two.

4. Although Marty St. Louis is heading for unrestricted free agency, I’m convinced that he’ll re-sign with the Blueshirts. MSL likes New York too much and Glen Sather knows a winner when he sees one.

5. The best way for Rangers and Islanders supporters to view their teams is by harking back to October 1. At that time, any follower of the Blueshirts or Nassaumen would be tickled to find their teams secured a playoff berth.

6. What Jack Capuano needs most of all through the homestretch is the re-discovery of second line scoring; nor would third and fourth-line help be rejected either.

7. If you’re Lou Lamoriello, would you try to engineer a deal for scoring-whiz-problem-child Phil (I’m A Phenom) Kessel? I would — but without giving up the store.

8. Figure it this way: Lou could straighten out Kessel the way nobody else can. My guess is that, at this point, Toronto likely would accept one young defenseman plus a draft pick.

9. Neither Adam (50 Percent Better) Larsson nor Damon (Jewel In The Rough) Severson would be – or should be – available.

10. Reader Noam Kogen makes an interesting comparison. He sees Mats (The Waterbug On Ice) Zuccarello as a latter-day version of Canadiens Hall of Famer Yvan (The Roadrunner) Cournoyer.

11. So far the difference is that Zucky is tougher, but Corny won 10 Stanley Cups.

12. This from Reader Joe (Joltin’) Dionisio of Southampton: “The long-term good news for the youthful Isles is that they need to get used to flying ABOVE the radar if they have genuine Cup aspirations.”

13. If the Senators somehow pull off the upset-of-all-upsets and make the playoffs, Andrew (Burger King) Hammond should be given the Heart Trophy since the Hart is out of reach.

14. What’s astonishing and annoying at the same time is that Ottawa’s coach Dave Cameron has been ridiculously overlooked for engineering a crazy franchise turnaround. Cameron has orchestrated a compelling melodrama with the Sens.

15. Marko (Me Down) Dano is no Ken Daneyko, but every time I hear the former’s name, I think of the latter.

16. I asked one of my favorite coaches, Jacques (I Love Stogies) Lemaire the key to winning the Cup. He said: “You need the goalie, the defense and you need the guy to score at the right time and change the game at a certain time. In the 1995 Final, Scott (Kid Lightning) Niedermayer did that for us (Devils) with his goal in Game 2 at Detroit.”

17. The Ruble may be taking a nosedive in Mother Russia – along with the KHL – but don’t expect Ilya (I Never Should Have Left New Jersey) Kovalchuk to make an NHL comeback until he’s ‘way-‘way over the hill.

18. The next Toronto Maple Leafs coach will have to be a disciplinarian-to-the-radical-50, and if John (Teach The Media A Lesson) Tortorella isn’t the man for that job, then I don’t know who is.

Vancouver Canucks new heach coach John Tortorella

19. One aspect of refereeing that drives me nuts is the big rush of Zebras to blow the whistle the half-second they lose sight of the puck. What’s the rush, Chaps, the plane won’t leave without you!

20. Not Exactly Shocking News Department: Boston University’s Jack (Eerily Good) Eichel is one of the finalists for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award.

21. Eichel knows that he’s the No. 2 North American skater in Central Scouting’s mid-season rankings for the 2015 NHL Draft. Ah, but does he know why Baker was considered America’s first superstar?

22. Unknown-But-Good-Hockey Player: Brandon (Not Manitoba) Pirri who’s keeping Florida in the Wild Card race.

23. Anyone who says that Sidney (I Don’t Whine Much Anymore) Crosby has lost even a little bit of his magic touch hasn’t consulted the scoring list lately.

24. Something we all should keep in mind about overly-touted Connor (Sure To Be Number One Draft Pick) McDavid, is that the Erie Otters center won’t be another Sidney Crosby until he proves that his press clippings are real.

25. Then again, I said the same thing about Sid (The No Longer A Kid) when he was a jumping’ junior.

26. If Hollywood is contemplating a re-make of “The Invisible Man,” then Phil (The Pill) Kessel should be first in line for an audition.

27. My one – and only – Rangers concern is the schedule that has them playing 11 games in 20 days.

28. As sage reader Gus Vic points out, “The case can be made that Henrik Lundqvist, Marty St. Louis and Kevin Klein all will get a few games back prior to the post-season.” The flip side is that more games mean more a chance for injuries.

29. Definition of the Sophomore Slump: Last year’s rookie-of-the-year, Nathan (Hot Dog) MacKinnon. The not-so-productive Calder Trophy winner is a good reason why Colorado is on the rocks.

30. If you’re looking for a Hollywood-scripted Comeback Kid story, check out the Jordin (All Aboard) Tootoo saga in New Jersey.

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Bill Pidto: Purely Genuine

I am a New York Native whose first exposure to sports was watching those championship Knicks teams in the 1970s. They were a group that captivated the entire city, and Clyde was always our family’s favorite. He was so cool on the court, never seeming to break a sweat. And off the court, he was, of course, a trendsetter.

The transcendent nature of Clyde’s appeal is best illustrated by how much my mother adored him. My mother was not much of a sports fan – and far from a basketball expert – but she loved Clyde because, as she said, he was just “so cool.”

My mom passed away in 1989. She would be thrilled that I now work at MSG and am a colleague of Clyde’s.

If I could, I would tell my mom what makes Clyde’s greatness even more special is how nice and gracious he is to all of us, and to anyone who approaches him.

And his popularity is still such that my young cousin’s son desperately wanted Clyde to autograph his basketball. When I asked Clyde if he would mind, of course Clyde’s response was, “Not at all. Would love to do it.”

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Remembering Walt Clyde Frazier’s ‘The Game’

On a Sunday night at Staples Center, just over four years ago, as I made my way through a conversation between Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson – and beyond the flirtatious smile of Lindsay Lohan – I caught the urge to do something I almost never do: Take a photo of a celebrity.

But this was no ordinary moment. Walt Frazier stood courtside, wearing his ubiquitous grin, trademark sideburns and, oh yes, a leopard-print suit.

He was, as he often is, in a statuesque posture and teeming with confidence. As he scanned the court while the Knicks warmed up for their game against the Lakers, his vibe could have been the motivation behind The Most Interesting Man in the World ad campaign:

“When he drives a new car off the lot, its value increases.”

“The circus ran away to join him.”

“He lives vicariously through himself.”

“He once had an awkward moment – just to see what it feels like.”

“Confidence exudes him.”

And so on…

The Legend of Clyde wasn’t born that day, of course. It started back in the early 1970s, with a Borsalino, a Rolls and the creative imagination of famed Garden photographer George Kalinsky. To future generations, Clyde is known more for his threads almost as much – or perhaps even more – than his game.

He’s a walking time machine with the coolest brand name in sports. He doesn’t follow the ever-changing fashion trends. He created his own – and wears it like that Cheshire cat grin and his two NBA rings. The latter he’ll flash with two fists forward like Radio Raheem in “Do The Right Thing”. Only this story isn’t about Love and Hate. This story is about a long lost fundamental in the game he loves.

“I got these,” Clyde often says, “because of defense.”

Clyde is living proof that when you win in New York, you can be just about anything you want to be. He went from being shy to loquacious, from offering brief, modest observations to being vociferous with his vocabulary on Knicks telecasts.

In the years of hip-hop’s adolescence, he freestyled his commentary – with phrases like “dishing and swishing” – well before the beloved Stuart Scott made it his trademark on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

And then for a while, he felt like he became just another piece of furniture. Through the late 1990s, NBA Style as we know it today didn’t exist. Baggy jeans and oversized shirts with backwards caps were the common gear for players.

It reached a point where former commissioner David Stern created a rule that players had to wear suits to and from the arena and, more importantly, on the bench if they were not in uniform. Players grumbled and threw on basic suits with untucked shirts and, at times, black sneakers.

Fast-forward to January 4, 2011, when the Knicks hosted the Spurs at Madison Square Garden. All along, Frazier had maintained his Clyde style: Throwback suits of various materials and flashy colors, and wide ties with thick Windsor knots. But on this night, inspired by some recent furniture shopping that led him to direct his tailor to some unusual material, he took a fashion risk. OK, it was more like a fashion leap.

That night saw the debut of the famous “Cow Suit”, which was so outrageous, even he opted to just wear the jacket and pair it with black pants.

A week later, with the Knicks in Los Angeles, he stepped out again with a daring look. This time, in full leopard print, with a black shirt and brown tie.

He was, as he would say, resplendent.

So I asked him to pose while I clicked his picture on my Blackberry. I then posted it to Twitter and within minutes, it became a worldwide trending topic.

The photo was used in newspapers and on websites all around the country. Interview requests came flooding in. The Legend of Clyde was reborn – or perhaps just discovered by yet another generation.

“You made me famous again,” Clyde said when we met again at The Garden shortly thereafter.

Hardly. If you know the Knicks, you know Walt “Clyde” Frazier. No matter what generation you’re from, every fan can connect with the very approachable and affable franchise icon. He either promotes vivid and cherished memories of the great teams from the championship era or evokes fun basketball rhymes from his career as a broadcaster on MSG Network.

But really, he should be both. And the fact that he is remembered now more for his striking, colorful fashion efforts than for his performance on the basketball court is, to me, somewhat maddening.

Consider this: What if a player today scored 36 points, dished out 19 assists, grabbed seven rebounds and hit all 12 of his free throws in a Game 7 to win the NBA Finals?

Now that would be a worldwide trending topic.

And that’s exactly what Clyde did on that unforgettable night: May 8, 1970.

Of course we remember that game for injured captain Willis Reed hobbling out of the tunnel and hitting his first two shots to spur his team to the win. But there is no legend without Clyde.

In fact, let’s compare it to some of the greatest NBA Finals Game 7 – the ultimate moment – performances in history:

  • 2013 – LeBron James: 37 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists in the Heat win
  • 2005 – Manu Ginobili: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in Spurs win
  • 1994 – Hakeem Olajuwon: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks in Rockets win
  • 1988 – James Worthy: 36 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists in Lakers win
  • 1970 – Clyde Frazier: 36 points, 7 rebounds, 19 assists in Knicks win
  • 1962 – Bill Russell: 30 points, 40 rebounds in an overtime Celtics win

Look at it this way: Clyde directly contributed to 74 of the 113 points the Knicks scored in that Game 7. Or for today’s analytics, he factored in 65.4% of the team’s offense.

When you consider the stage, the pressure and the opponent, it can be argued that Frazier had the greatest game in NBA history.

And yet, over four decades later, among the few Knicks to ever approach him for advice or just to talk basketball, he recalls once being asked, “Hey man, did I read you had 36 points and 19 assists in a game once?”

Yeah, in a game. Once.

He also went on to wear both the jacket and pants of the cow suit. And somehow that has been more unforgettable.

But while his incredible performance may have been lost in time – since the dawn of the Jordan Era it seems anything accomplished before 1984 is somehow diminished by the argument of physical evolution – we can still, at least, trace the origins of today’s NBA Style to the man who set the standard.

Since the Leopard Print Suit photo went viral, we’ve seen many NBA stars in their own fashion exploits and taking risks. There’s Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Nick Young, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks’ own Carmelo Anthony (who brought back the Borsalino among his collection of men’s millinery) who turned the pregame stroll into a Zoolander runway strut.

“A lot of the young players credit me with bringing the bling into the NBA,” he told me recently.

Perhaps, but let us never forget that he also brought bling to New York with the greatest accessories in the history of fashion. These are must-have items that go with anything and are far more salient than even the leopard or cow print jackets. These are exclusive pieces that the aforementioned NBA stars can’t buy.

They would be, of course, those two beautiful championship rings.

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BULLS RUN: MARSCH’S BLUEPRINT FOR VICTORY

If you wanted to diagram a typical goal from a team coached by Jesse Marsch, Sunday’s Red Bulls home-opening win over D.C. United provided the perfect example.

D.C. United had the ball in its own half with midfielder Davy Arnaud looking to push play forward, but the Red Bulls had Arnaud right where they wanted him. Felipe Martins and Sacha Kljestan pressed Arnaud into a turnover and the counter-attack was on.

As numbers poured forward for New York, Bradley Wright-Phillips took control of the ball and found an open Lloyd Sam, who slotted the ball into the next with a near-post finish past Bill Hamid. The goal put the game away and the Red Bulls would win their first game in the Jesse Marsch era.

That’s the instruction the players have been getting from their new boss ever since Marsch took over the head coaching position early in the year. It’s a quick-reacting, counter-attacking brand of soccer that has been made popularized by German side Borussia Dortmund. The objective is to create havoc in the opposition’s half by pushing the midfield high up the field and forcing the other team into mistakes in their own half.

“Yeah, that is definitely part of the game plan,” Sam said after Sunday’s 2-0 win over D.C. United. On my goal – the second goal – that was exactly how we’ve been working.”

This is what Marsch wants to see from his team this season: An energetic, athletic, high-pressing group that plays with pace. From minute one to the final whistle, Marsch expects his side to be aggressive and be in the face of the other team.

“The goal of the pressing is to win balls and win them in the midfield,” Marsch said Sunday. “To have guys be dangerous and on the move so that we put [the opposing team’s] defenders on their heels when we win it and play forward quickly. I think that’s a lot of the ways that we get goals.”

Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch speaks to media after the team's 2-0 win over DC United at Red Bull Arena.

Marsch has set up the Red Bulls the same way in the first two games, employing a 4-2-3-1 formation that is currently en vogue around the world. The “2” in the formation are the holders of the midfield and provide the foundation for most of a team’s attacks.

In the Red Bulls’ case, those roles belong to Felipe and Dax McCarty. The duo seized control of the match and were the catalysts for both goals scored. It’s a partnership that has shown early promise and one that the new team captain thinks will only get better.

“Felipe is a great player,” McCarty said. “Jesse knew what he was doing when he traded for him. He’s a guy that always wants the ball, I love that about him. Our relationship in the midfield is starting to blossom a bit. We’re starting to get those connections down a little bit more. We need to look for each other and hopefully win the midfield every game this season.”

Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty comments on the team's 2-0 home-opening win over rivals DC United.

A Look Ahead: Red Bulls at Crew (Saturday 7 PM, MSG2)

The Red Bulls head back on the road for a matchup against the Columbus Crew Saturday on MSG2 and will attempt to keep their unbeaten record going.

Columbus had a bye week last weekend, but is coming off a 2-0 win over Toronto FC in its home-opener back on March 14. Any game against the Crew starts and ends with one question: How do you slow down Columbus playmaker Federico Higuain?

A playmaking midfielder by trade, Higuain has been the Crew’s most valuable player the last two seasons and has scored 22 goals during that time span. The onus will be on McCarty and Felipe to figure out a way to quell Higuain’s influence during the match.

The Crew have also lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first two games this season. At the top of that formation is Kei Kamara, who returned to Columbus after spending time in England. Kamara is a physical force and will pose a threat to any backline in MLS.

The question for Marsch is if the Red Bulls’ head coach decides to keep his starting 11 unchanged or take young Matt Miazga out of the lineup should veteran Ronald Zubar prove fit for the match.

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Al Trautwig: Awesomeness

I first met Clyde on October 6, 1972 at Nassau Coliseum when the Knicks made their first visit to play the ABA’s New York Nets.

I was the head ball boy for the Nets, but I was also a New Yorker and the Knicks’ first championship in 1970 was still a very fresh memory. I was pretty comfortable around pro athletes by then, but when Clyde walked into the locker room, it was different.

He glided into the room. He had the aura of royalty. The fact that I was wearing a pair of Puma “Clydes” made it even better.

Clyde, wearing those trademark socks with a blue-and-orange stripe, scored 19 points and the Knicks won the game, 100-91. After the game, I asked Clyde for those socks.

He told me I had to ask trainer Danny Whelan, which I did. I wore those socks every time I played basketball until the elastic wore out.

In the years since then, I read his book, Rockin’ Steady, and learned how to catch flies with my bare hand. I learned that eating right could help you last a long time and look great, and that his rhyming had a purpose.

That’s what it is about Clyde. Everything he did had and has a purpose.

There is a lesson there. If you do things like that or try to, you could turn out like Clyde. Imagine the awesomeness of that.

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