Another day gone, another warmup for FC Dallas. After a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, Dallas take on the remnants, trialists and castoffs of New York Red Bulls. Most of the team sent to Arizona by New York are players recovering from injury, newly acquired (transfers), or young kids most likely trying out for Red Bulls II. Like last article, we won’t delve into formation and starting lineups - it’s preseason. The idea is experimentation. Even more so for this Red Bulls group.
One reason (the main reason, I suppose) New York has a patchwork crew out in Arizona is due to their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League. On Wednesday night, New York played the first leg of their opening stage matches against Atletico Pantoja (Dominican Republic) in the Caribbean and will play the second leg in New York this coming Wednesday. Much like FC Dallas in years past, the Red Bulls started preparing a bit earlier than normal teams for the start of the season to get into proper game form before the competition would start. New York first started in Florida to get in three games in Orlando before splitting up the group, one preparing for CCL, the other flying out to Arizona to get in three more games.
So, what is there to look forward to in this preseason game if there’s no first team players in action for New York? For one, the next generation of up and coming players. Of all the teams most closely associated with developing youth talent in America, FC Dallas and NYRB stand head and shoulders above everyone else. Now that league darling Tyler Adams has moved up the Red Bulls
pyramid scheme… uh, development ladder to RB Leipzig, many will look for the next star to come out of New York’s academy system.
New York continues to sign homegrown and young international talent to supplant its departed stars. Omir Fernandez (HG), Mathias Jorgensen (transfer), Kyle Zajec (HG), Jean Christophe-Koffi (HG) have all been signed this offseason with at least an intention of getting minutes in the first team, especially Jorgensen, who arrived from Denmark last week, and Fernandez. In fact, Fernandez made the trip to the Dominican and came on as a sub, so his development could be a priority.
The rest of the roster is a mix of names we all know or are vaguely aware of. Up top is Bradly Wright-Philips and at the back is keeper Luis Robles. Guys like Tim Parker, Sean Davis, Aaron Long and Daniel Royer are still around. Tyler Adams replacement was found last season in Mark Rzatkowski and New York has been able to secure him on a permanent deal moving forward. The main question is how much the young kids mentioned above as well as a few others (Ben Mines, Derrick Etienne Jr., Cristian Casseres Jr.) will have an impact on results this season. Will the “next” Tyler Adams, or Matt Miazga, be found this year?
Finally, a note about head coach Chris Armas, who guided the team to the Supporter’s Shield and second round playoff exit after taking over in July for Jesse Marsch. As he begins his first full season in charge, will he deviate to much from what worked last season? Will he be able to replace all the talent that has been drained from New York over the past few seasons? Will he also be beamed up to the mothership of Red Bull company teams? All to be determined for now.
As for Dallas, Big D Soccer has you covered here, here, and here. The kids are making a case to play major minutes this season, with Paxton looking better and better with each passing game. Jacori Hayes is staking his claim to starting minutes in place of newly signed Bryan Acosta, and who knows what we can expect from Thomas Roberts. All of this makes these final few days heading into the season as exciting as ever. Sure, Dallas would love to be giving it a go in the Champions League, but seeing the next generation come up right in front of us is its own kind of reward.