New York Red Bulls
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Hispanic payers such as Giovanni Savarese, Antony de Avila, Amado Guevara have truly thrived with the New York Red Bulls.

Onz Chery

Only 64 of them have played for the New York Red Bulls in their 23 years of existence, but they have made their voices heard loud and clear.

In fact, it was one of them who scored the club’s first goal and they make up half of the team’s top 10 scorers of all-time.

There’s only two of them in the starting XI now, but one of them is the club’s star playmaker.

Hispanic players have meant a lot, done a lot for RBNY over the years. The club will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in their match versus Philadelphia Union on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET.

It is, indeed, the perfect time to have a quick history lesson on the Hispanic players who wore the Red Bulls’ jersey.

In New York’s first season in 1996, they had five Hispanic players on their 28-men roster.

However, their two top scorers were of Hispanic heritage: Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese, who led the team with 14 goals and Colombia native Antony de Avila, who finished second behind Savarese with eight goals.

Savarese netted The Metros’ first-ever goal in the team’s inaugural game against Los Angeles Galaxy on April 13, 1996. How did he score? New York was losing, 2-0, and he headed a deflected shot in the net from the six-yard box.

It wasn’t the prettiest goal and the Red Bulls lost 2-1, but it was an emotional one for Savarese, he opened a team’s scoring account. The Venezuelan ran with his arms wide open with a huge smile on his face.

It wasn’t the last goal Savarese scored for New York. The forward tallied 44 goals in two years with the Red Bulls. With those 44 goals, he was the club’s all-time top scorer from 1998 to 2009—and mind you, Savarese was drafted as the 89th-overall pick in 1996.

Fast-forward to 2003; New York signed another Hispanic stud, Honduras born Amado Guevara. The attacking midfielder led the team in assists his first season with them, racking eight goal-passes.

Guevara was a major help in RBNY’s route to their first-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final that season. The midfielder scored the game winning goal in the quarter-finals against New England Revolution in the 116th-minute then he bagged a brace in the semifinals versus D.C. United in a 3-2 win.

Sadly, New York lost in the final to Chicago Fire, 1-0. Guevara led the Open Cup in scoring with four goals.

In his next season with the Red Bulls, Guevara did a little better than winning the Open Cup’s Golden Boot. He won the MLS MVP award, Golden Boot award, made the MLS Best XI and was the All-Star’s game MVP.

Guevara is the only Red Bull player to ever win the MLS MVP award and the first player from the club to win the Golden Boot. The playmaker found the net 39 times in his three-year spell with The Metros, which placed him in the sixth spot in the club’s all-time top scorers.

During Guevara’s time with New York, the team actually signed arguably the best Hispanic performer to ever play in the MLS, Bolivian Jaime Moreno.

Moreno is the MLS’ all-time fourth scoring leader and sixth assist leader. But in his time with New York, the Bolivian only scored two goals in one season.

Later in 2007, New York acquired Colombian Juan Pablo Angel.

Remember how Savarese was the team’s all-time scoring leader from 1998 to 2009? Angel was the one who surpassed Savarese.

The Colombian was scoring goals since his first game with the Red Bulls, banging a free-kick in the net against the Galaxy as a substitute on May 8, 2007. Angel was also selected as the MLS All-Star game MVP in his debut season in the league.

The following season, Angel led the club in scoring as he did in his first year with them. The team made their first and only appearance in the MLS final then.

Angel is now the club’s second all-time top scorer behind Bradley Wright-Phillips. He wasn’t only a great scorer for the Red Bulls but also their captain in 2009 and 2010.

During Angel’s last season with RBNY, the team signed one of the best Mexican player ever, Rafael Marquez.

Rafael Marquez
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

Marquez was only with New York from 2010 to 2012 and was only a shadow of his breathtaking career. He did, however, score a screamer that won the MLS Goal of the Week in 2010. That was the only goal Marquez scored for New York.

New York also had the privilege of having a Brazilian legend wear their jersey, Juninho Pernambuco. Juninho is one of the best Brazilian free-kick taker to ever play; unfortunately, he didn’t score for New York in his lone season with them in 2013.

Two more notable Hispanics who played for New York are Brazilian Rodrigo Faria and Colombian Adolfo Valencia.

Valencia played for superclubs Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. He scored 29 goals in just two seasons with RBNY (2000-2001), which places him in ninth spot in the team’s all-time scoring list.

As for Faria, he netted 25 goals in two seasons with New York too (2001-2002) to put himself in 10th place in the all-time scoring list.

Faria was the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2001. He’s the only Red Bull player to ever win that accolade.

As of now, New York has three Hispanic players: Cristian Casseres Jr. a promising 19-year-old central midfielder from Venezuela, Michael Murillo, a 23-year-old Panamanian with World Cup experience, and Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero, the team’s No. 10.

Being an Hispanic on the Red Bulls roster comes with a lot of pride. After all, the first player who scored for the club, the first one who won the Golden Boot, and the only players who won the MLS MVP award and Rookie of the Year award were all Hispanics.

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.