Tag Archives: Florian Valot

Home Sweet Home for New York Red Bulls

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 16: 4-1 Win

Ah, Spring. When young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of MLS. At least, we hope so. It was still rather chilly, but a bright sunny afternoon welcomed fans old and new to Red Bull Arena. The home match against the San Jose Earthquakes happens every other year, and new Quakes coach Matias Almeyda is looking to bring his team into the playoff conversation.

You know I’m a dreamer: This is already Matchday 3. The season is well on its way, with all its narratives being formed and tweaked. The Red Bulls have lived and learned with two home games in their latest attempt at the CONCACAF Champions League. But the league home opener is a special moment. A halftime ceremony celebrated the 2018 Supporter’s Shield, as well as the team’s previous two, which are all immortalized on the building itself. Recently retired former Red Bull Mike Grella was invited to hold up the 2015 Shield at the ceremony. Confetti-filled posters of the players from Decision Day 2018 were distributed to fans following the match.

RBNY supporters group, Vikings Army, display an “Unfinished Business” tifo at the home opener. Photo by Sylvana Budeshelm

Sometimes nothing keeps me together: The game itself didn’t look so good at the start. The Red Bulls were unsettled throughout the first half. The high press Red Bull thrives on was keeping them on the attack, but no one could find the back of the net. At the same time, the Earthquakes looked threatening after every turnover. Just five minutes into the match, Christian Espinoza sent a low shot past Luis Robles. Then, around the thirty-minute mark, a rough challenge sent midfielder Florian Valot to ground. With a scream. And anyone who saw and heard knew. The player who lost most of last season to a tear in his left ACL confirmed a few days after the game that he tore his right ACL. He bounced back once, and fans are confident he can do it again.

I’m on my way: In the 34th minute, homegrown Alex Muyl entered the pitch for Valot. While he had two off-target shots leading up to the halftime whistle, it was clear he was knocking on the door. But that happens a lot, and not just to Muyl. The entire first half was rife with missed opportunities. Kyle Duncan, who had done great work in the back line until the game against San Jose, scrambled for the first half but finally found his bearings in the second. It was time for RBNY to show what they were made of.

Just set me free: If you’re reading this, and you didn’t come to the game because some other commitment was going to have you missing the first half, let me tell you right now: the second half alone was worth the price of admission. Not one, but two goals from Alex Muyl, the first goal of the season for striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, and the final dagger from Daniel Royer.

Take me to your heart: Almost as soon as Wright-Phillips scored, he was substituted. In his place came Mathias Jorgensen, the eighteen-year-old Danish international who was the marquee signing of the Red Bulls’ off-season. And while he didn’t score a hat-trick right out of the gate, coach Chris Armas was happy with what he saw: “He almost scored. It’s right there for him.”

Whether he starts the next match, replaces Wright-Phillips earlier, or plays alongside him remains to be seen. But like many of the players on the roster, it’s about more than what fans see on gameday. “But if you got to know him a little bit the way we do, what a humble, hard-working team guy, and he fought hard, even in a few minutes,” Armas said. This is clearly the identity of the RBNY player, which belies the “villains of MLS” perception that other teams would like to foist upon them.

Enjoying back-to-back home games, the Red Bulls face former teammate Sacha Kljestan and Orlando City SC on Saturday.

Featured image: Sylvana Budeshelm

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

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New York Red Bulls: There They Go

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 2: 1-1 Draw

There they go again…

The New York Red Bulls traveled to Columbus and MAPFRE Stadium to begin the MLS season against the Crew. They last met in the 2018 playoffs, where the Red Bulls overcame a 1-0 deficit to advance. But with a new season comes new possibilities. With the Crew safe and sound in Columbus, and with Caleb Porter at the helm, are we going to see a huge change?

Racing Through My Brain: With a much shorter turnaround between rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League than I remember there being last year, the team had to look further down the roster. And there they found a bunch of comeback kids: Kyle Duncan, Florian Valot, and Vince Bezecourt. All three of them had season-ending injuries last year (what is with those knee ligaments?!) and were ready to start again. Bezecourt and Valot went the full 90; Duncan made way for draft pick Sean Nealis.

And I Just Can’t Contain: Fresh off his very first goal for the first team just three days prior, Andreas Ivan scored his very first MLS goal (6′). Valot crossed the ball to him and he headed it home. Fans may have been wondering before this past week if Ivan was going to be an asset or a liability for RBNY. He is quickly proving to be the former. Usual starters Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer have done great things for the Red Bulls, but they can’t stay on forever. Seeing players like Ivan and newcomer Mathias Jorgensen should reassure fans that a future transition will be seamless. (Let’s hope those transitions are far in the future, though!)

This Feeling That Remains: Sure would have been nice to start the season with a win. Crew midfielder Gaston Sauro changed that.  His header off a set piece (41′) leveled the game moments before the half. And while there were a ton of fouls and a grand total of six yellow cards between the two sides, that scoreline remained the same until the final whistle. So at least it wasn’t a loss.

It’s back to Red Bull Arena for the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals this week, then a trip to Mexico for the second leg. The Red Bulls return to MLS play on Saturday, March 16, with their home opener against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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