Every team needs a reliable scorer who will step up when the star striker slumps. The New York Red Bulls have found that in Daniel Royer.
Going back to June 14, 2017, the New York Red Bulls were in need of a goal to break a 0-0 scoreline versus their rivals New York City F.C. in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s fourth round. We passed the hour mark and the match was still locked at 0-0.
Later in the 67th minute, star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips whipped a low-drive on frame but NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson charged off his line to block the Englishman’s effort.
The ball cannoned up in the air from Johnson’s gloves—appeared to move in slow-motion—Daniel Royer kept his eyes on it, opened his hip and hit the ball in the air with his left foot in the net. NYRB won the match 1-0 and advanced to the Round of 16.
Fast-forward to the 2018 MLS playoffs, New York was tied 1-1 on aggregate with Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference semifinals. We passed the 70th-minute mark and the series was still tied 1-1. Tyler Adams found a perfectly positioned Royer in the box, who smashed a shot under Zack Steffen’s reach in the 73rd minute.
The Austrian wasn’t done for the night. Three minutes later, he cut in from the left wing before beaming a shot high in the net. The Metros downed the Crew 3-1 on aggregate to move to the Eastern Conference final.
Royer isn’t Wright-Philips, the top scorer of the team, he’s not Kaku, the exciting playmaker, he’s not Aaron Long, the All-Star defender, he’s not one of the promising youngsters as Omir Fernandez or Cristian Casseres Jr. but he’s a reliable scorer. The 28-year-old will score goals, more importantly, he will score goals when needed.
Although New York’s season just started, you don’t have to go far back to find the midfielder’s name on the scoresheet. Last time Royer found the net was on Wednesday in the team’s 2-0 win over Club Atletico Pantoja in the Concacaf Champions League. He scored the Red Bulls’ second goal as he controlled Kaku’s cross before steering a low-shot in the net.
Although Royer has been such a prolific scorer for the Supporters’ Shield champions before moving to New York, he never notched more than 10 goals in a season in his previous 10 campaigns.
With the Red Bulls, the former Bundesliga player netted 32 goals in his three seasons, which amounts up to 82 games. Royer was New York’s second top scorer behind Wright-Philips in the past two seasons and cumulatively he’s the club’s eighth all-time top scorer. At the pace the 28-year-old is scoring, he could become the team’s third top scorer above Thierry Henry in two more seasons.
How have some of the winger’s 32 goals been so important for RBNY? Royer has tallied nine goals in knockout matches in a New York jersey, some his most memorable knockout goals are his winner against NYCFC in the Open Cup and his brace in last year’s playoff match versus Columbus aforementioned.
The Austrian also racked six levelers, one of which was a 90th-minute tying goal against Vancouver Whitecaps in the league on Aug. 18, 2018, 12 openers and four winners, his first goal for the club was a winner against Montreal Impact on Sept. 24, 2016.
Royer is one of the best scoring midfielders in The Metros’ history as he’s one of the only three halfbacks in the Top 10 scorers’ chart.
As most scoring midfielders, the ex-Hannover 96 man knows where to place himself in the box after making late runs. Royer was unmarked when he put New York up 2-1 on aggregate versus the Crew in the playoffs last year and was also open when he netted against Pantoja in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Additionally the winger is a clinical finisher, he can shoot well with both feet, score with his head as he did so acrobatically against Club Deportivo Olimpia in the 2018 Champions League Round of 16 opening leg, can find the net from outside the box and he’s also been a reliable penalty kick taker for NYRB in the past two seasons.
The former Austria international player also has a knack for scoring goals right after the other. On Jul. 29, 2017, Royer netted in the 90th and the 91st minute against San Jose Earthquakes. Later on Jun. 6, 2018, he scored in the 87th and in the 89th minute against NYCFC. And lastly, on Nov. 11 of last year, the midfielder netted a brace in three minutes versus Columbus.
Expect the former Austria Wien player to come to New York’s rescue often again this season because of his confidence and various scoring assets. But will he score more goals than Bradley Wright-Phillips? Probably not. Royer is the reliable back-up scorer a successful team must have on their roster.