The Case of Matt Miazga

USA TODAY Sports

The Red Bulls latest academy prospect inks a deal with the senior team, but his case is a bit different than his fellow teenage teammates.

It's pretty obvious that, at this juncture, head coach Mike Petke is gun shy about his young guys.

Everyone knew when the Red Bulls signed Amando Moreno and Santiago Castano, both 17, this winter that they'd be long term projects. But no one knew how much they'd figure into the team's plans.

So far, we've gotten the answer, as Andy Roxburgh, Mike Petke, et al made moves that bumped the both of them down the depth chart. In the case of Moreno, it was Peguy Luyindula and Andre Akpan. For Castano, it was Kevin Hartman. And so far, the only one of the duo to get any playing time at all is Moreno, playing 91 minutes -- 90 this week against Reading United and one against the San Jose Earthquakes.

You'd think that would be the case with the most recent homegrown signing, Matt Miazga, but it might not be.

The 6'3", 185 pound centerback (an inch taller and ten pounds heavier than Markus Holgersson), who won't join the team until after he graduates high school, enters a center defender pool that's relatively thin.

Ahead of Miazga, but behind the starting pair of Holgersson and Jamison Olave, is Digao and Heath Pearce. That's it. Where Moreno sits behind four (effectively five with Tim Cahill) other players and Castano waits in the wings behind three, Miagza, under the right circumstances, could be forced into the fire well ahead of when the Red Bulls brain trust prefers.

Whether that happens remains to be seen, but all it would take to put Miazgta on the verge of meaningful minutes is an injury, a much different situation than Moreno or Castano.

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