With the New York Red Bulls transfer window upon us, there a few positions where the squad could stand to find some new blood.
Good news for Chris Armas. The head coach recently shared that there could be a new player on the roster after this New York Red Bulls transfer window.
“We’re close on a few things, and I won’t be surprised if right at the buzzer we add a piece or two,” Armas said in an interview with the club on Tuesday.
A piece or two? It might not just be one player, but two players—it’s okay to get a little excited, RBNY fans.
The transfer window will close on Wednesday.
Who will New York’s buzzer-beater signing—or signings—be? Tough question unless you have a time machine. A much easier question that correlates to the first one is, what position are The Metros looking to add?
3. Right back
The first position that comes to mind is the club’s death-position of the season: right back. Many have failed to impress on the right side of the defense.
Michael Murillo was an All-Star last season, he played in the last World Cup with Panama, and reportedly had interest from European clubs. He’s usually New York’s starter but he’s underperforming this year.
Murillo has a bad habit of ball-watching. Quite a few goals came from him focusing on the ball rather than his man. For example, in the team’s first match of the season against Columbus Crew on March 2, 2019.
Perhaps, because the Panamanian hasn’t been at his best, Armas kept him on the bench five times this season when he was available to play, including the Red Bulls’ last game, which was against Toronto F.C. on Saturday.
However, on a good note, Murillo has five assists—some say he would be better as a right midfielder.
Connor Lade had a go at right back, also at left back, but didn’t impress either. He’s a hard worker but his passes often didn’t find their intended target and he was beaten too easy at times.
Lade hasn’t played in a month.
Kyle Duncan stepped up at right back also but didn’t prove to be the fullback RBNY needs either. His passing game needs improvement.
It seemed as if, it’s a no-brainer, New York will sign a right back. But, plot-twist, the club brought Rece Buckmaster up from the second to the first team on Saturday.
Buckmaster played against TFC the day he was signed and did a decent job. Will the Red Bulls sign a right back from outside of the club and keep Buckmaster as a backup?
That’s a bit unlikely. They drafted Buckmaster, developed him in the second team and had enough confidence in him to start him against Toronto the day he was signed.
It’s not likely that they’ll replace the 23-year-old so early but because of their problems at right back this season, it’s a position to keep an eye on.
2. Right wing
Derrick Etienne Jr. is arguably the best right midfielder RBNY has. At his best, it safe to say that Etienne Jr. has what it takes to be a star in the MLS. But Etienne Jr. only started five matches for New York this season and never played a full 90 minutes.
If that’s how much you’re playing your top right winger—and it hurts to say this—it might be one of the positions the club needs to fortify.
Youngster Omir Fernandez is a promising player who could play the position but looking at his minutes, it doesn’t seem like Armas thinks he should be in the starting 11 on a weekly basis yet.
The 20-year-old didn’t feature in The Metros’ last two matches.
1. Inside mid
Sean Davis and Marc Rzatkowski haven’t done a terrible job this season, but they haven’t been stars either.
In their defense, New York has three stars, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence, and Tim Parker. Up top, it’s Bradley Wright-Phillips, even though he’s having a rough season, but Tom Barlow and Brian White have stepped up in his spot when needed.
And in the attacking end of the midfield, Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero is a game-changer. But deep down in the midfield, the Red Bulls don’t have a star player
New York lost a star player in that position last season—Tyler Adams. Cristian Casseres Jr. was supposed to replace Adams.
He hasn’t looked bad. The Venezuelan tallied three assists and two goals in thirteen games, but he hasn’t shown that he has what it takes to consistently carry a midfield on his back yet. Neither has Davis, nor Rzatkowski.
Furthermore, the team hasn’t brought any inside midfielder from their second team or academy to the first team this season. They signed a center back, Sean Nealis, a winger, Fernandez, a fullback, Buckmaster and a forward, Barlow.