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After starting the calendar year with so many headaches, New York Red Bulls midfielder Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero is still a valuable member of the team. 

Onz Chery

New York Red Bulls‘ best player during the Heineken Rivalry Week was their playmaker, Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero.

Despite everything that’s been going on around him this season, the Paraguayan international still has some cracks left in his tank.

To keep it frank, Kaku is one of the least appreciated Designated Players in the MLS for more than one reason.

He accidentally kicked the ball at a Sporting Kansas City fan’s face on April 14, 2019. Some Red Bull fans thought the club should’ve got rid of him then.

Front Row Soccer reporter Michael Lewis shared that he deserved to get banned for 10 games, but the 24-year-old only missed three matches.

Elsewhere, Kaku wanted to leave New York to go to Mexican giants Club America in January.

That’s one thing that will surely make fans dislike you: if you want to leave the team when you’re supposed to be one of the star players.

To make things even worse, the playmaker sent some tweets to express how unhappy he was that he didn’t get to go to Mexico.

Later in August, America showed interested in Kaku again. The midfielder still wanted to join them.

“My representative knows my wish. Waiting to see what happens…,” the Argentine-born said in an interview with TJ Sports.

What happened? Kaku is still playing for the Red Bulls. So the playmaker rather play somewhere else, felt mistreated by the club because they didn’t make the move to America possible, had to deal with the guilt and aftermath of accidentally blasting the ball at a fan’s face and, last but not least, some RBNY fans aren’t too fond of him.

Somehow, in the midst of all this bubble of pain, Kaku netted a sixth-minute opener against the team’s long-time rivals, D.C. United, with a sweet left-footed half volley in the box.

He then celebrated by childishly using his fingers as glasses.

Three days later, the South American tallied an assist against the Red Bulls’ other rivals, New York City F.C.

From May 25, 2019, to June 28, 2019, Kaku found the net or had an assist in five straight MLS games. He’s the only Red Bull player who has accomplished that this season.

He was heavily criticized for under-performing after kicking the ball at the fan in Kansas yet in that same match Kaku sent Brian White on goal with a pinpoint cross.

Not that the ex-Superliga Argentina player is at his best and flipping the MLS upside down, Kaku isn’t even the best performer on his team.

He only registered four goals and five assists in 21 appearances, but after what went around him this year and how the team is doing, four goals and five assists is pretty remarkable.

The midfielder’s performance isn’t the only thing worthy of praise, but also his attitude off the pitch. When you’re talking about Kaku being off the pitch, one word: Twitter.

Kaku said no other place in the world compares to New York City on Twitter. Although he’d rather be in Mexico, the 24-year-old is humble enough to compliment The Big Apple.


Furthermore, he’s with the team heart and soul even though they’re not having the best season. New York is fighting to stay in a playoff position.

“Although my ship is adrift, I plan to sink with it until the last day,” the Paraguayan international tweeted after the team lost to Toronto F.C., 3-1, on July 17, 2019.


That’s the definition of being passionate about the game. Passion brings commitment—commitment to whichever team you’re with.

If you look at Kaku’s last two goals, they have passion and commitment written all over each. Against D.C., he stole the ball from Lucas Rodriguez before smashing a shot in the net in the seventh minute.

And versus Chicago Fire on June 28, he charged at keeper Kenneth Kronholm, took the ball from him then hit a shot in an empty net in the eighth minute.

Note that both goals came before the 10-minute mark, which proves Kaku’s readiness and eagerness before game-time.

“Kaku is passionate. We’re all passionate but that’s his best quality, his passion,” The Metros’ head coach Chris Armas said about his star midfielder in a post-match press conference.

His passion led to ugly things like kicking the ball at a fan and send unprofessional tweets against the club. But it also helped him fight and support his club even when things aren’t going his way.

Yes, the same passion that put his career in jeopardy is also slowly boosting it back up.

Four months ago, it seemed impossible that the Club Atletico Huracan product was able to restore his career.

Fast-forward to now, Kaku is actually still playing for RBNY but did get into one incident. He confronted Houston Dynamo defender, Maynor Figueroa, and got a red card on July third.

Not quite perfect but going back to earlier this season, one incident in four months is improvement. Things were so bad that Armas once kept Kaku out of a gameday roster due to internal conflict.

As the playmaker often writes at the end of his tweets, “Lo mejor esta por venir,” which means the best will come.

Perhaps one day Kaku will be at his top behavior consistently and will be at his best on the pitch as well. He’s a player who has the capability to lead the MLS in assists, he did so at the beginning of last season.

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.