It's Bover vs. Sam for the starting right wing spot. And, unlike at left back, there's no better player waiting to take over.
With the MLS season just a few days away, we preview the Red Bulls with daily position-by-position previews. You can read all of them here. Today: The Red Bulls' situation at right wing.
We go from left back to another position that could be problematic for the upcoming season, right wing.
The right side of Mike Petke's 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 seems to ask whoever lines up on the right to be more of a two way player than his counterpart on the left, who is more likely to interchange with the forward. That leaves Lloyd Sam, Ruben Bover (formerly Ruben Izquierdo) and Josue Martinez are all candidates to fill that position, and it seems Bover is the leader in the clubhouse to get the opening day call.
The 20-year-old was acquired from Championship side Charlton Athletic after a week-long trial with the team. Much like Sam, Bover can play either wing.
And if Bover loses form, or can't go, Sam will likely take over. Sam, though, didn't look great in preseason and, if his past is any indication, is injury prone.
Unlike at left back, there's no savior waiting at centerback, like there is with Heath Pearce on the back line. There's no one to slot into the position should Bover or Sam prove ill-suited to the position. That makes the fight for the position even more important.
Based on what Sam brought to the team last year -- speed, the ability and willingness to take on defenders, someone who can cross the ball -- if Bover brings that (plus the ability to stay healthy) the Red Bulls should really have a player. And found a solution on the right side of the field.