Sinisa Ubiparipovic should now be worth more than his $33,000 annual salary.
One of the standouts in NY’s historic playoff march has been Ubiparipovic. And he is a flesh and blood person, although his name suggests a character out of a Dostoyevsky novel.
Ubiparipovic was an in and out presence on both attack and defense during the regular season stepping in for the fading Jorge Rojas and provided two invaluable game winning assists, including the one that scored the fastest goal in club history in the season opener against Crew in April. He then scored his first goal against DC United in the Red Bulls largest win this season.
During the playoffs he assisted Dane Richards in his first goal against defending champs Houston Dynamo in the deciding second leg. Ubiparipovic proved to be such an admirable replacement for Rojas, Osorio decided to link him with Luke Sassano, the holding midfielder and the duo combined well in dumping out the Dynamo.
Osorio seems to have taken the midfielder under his wings guiding him during his less than stellar moments. This summer was hard on Ubiparipovic with a 47% cut in salary and a place on the bench once Osorio’s highly touted summer signings came in at no small cost to the club.
“This is not luck with Sinisa, this is all pure hard work,” Osorio said. “We’ve been working a lot in trying to convince him that when he plays effective football – meaning no back heels, no outside flicks and giving simple inside passes – he can compete and play at this level.”
The emphasis on simplicity seems to have paid off as the South American talent at Osorio’s disposal did not pan out as planned. Especially Jorge Rojas, who could not sustain his fast start. Seth Stammler, the veteran midfielder was also lost to the season with knee surgery. It was left to the efforts of players like Ubiparipovic, Luke Sassano, Dane Richards, and Danny Cepero to pull out the wins that got the Red Bulls to their first ever finals. Ubiparipovic’s compelling history also adds to the Red Bulls fairy tale run.