When the season ended the way it did for the Red Bulls with a one goal win but also a one goal loss on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Final, you wondered who made any form of impact on this side when it comes from the starting 11. Yet when you think about the players who are seldom used and are considered the depth part of the roster, then you want to see if they have something to discuss.
Well that particular player was Anthony Wallace who was able to get on the field when called upon and he delivered in a big way. Even though his option was declined by the club when the season was over, the Brooklyn, NY native was a positive influence whenever he came off the bench as a starting fullback. Especially when the start of the season was a big question mark for the Red Bulls when Roy Miller was injured for the majority of the season after the start at Sporting Kansas City.
When Kemar Lawrence was taking over at the left back position and flourished well when he wasn't injured or away on international duty with Jamaica, it was Wallace who was signaled by Jesse Marsch to fill in some big shoes and did so with an early season tilt at Columbus against the Crew, but he to picked up an injury himself and after was fully fit was able to find some time with the USL side.
Well who could forget his first goal of the season in USL action at Red Bull Arena on a Sunday afternoon in early May when the score was two all and just as the clock was ticking away in second half stoppage time, it would be a big smash of a volley by Wallace who was on the far side of the Pittsburgh area and splashes the back of the net for the huge three points for the USL Bulls.
So when Lawrence was away for the Copa America as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup it would be Wallace getting the call from Marsch to play on the backline and when the New England Revolution came over to Red Bull Arena and already put them away with three early goals in the first half, the second half would be all his. A strike from distance in the 56th minute that deflects off a defender and beats Bob Shuttleworth for an amazing goal.
Combining the goals and his usage by Marsch it was natural for me to give him the baseball term, "PINCH HITTER" Because he was always ready in a pinch and he would blast balls from distance that would nail the back of the net whenever he wanted. So on the last day of the season after the Red Bulls were eliminated by the Columbus Crew, I asked him about how his 2015 went.
"I felt it was a good year for me, specifically speaking I had a great group of teammates." said Wallace, "I had a few highlight moments that helped contribute to our USL side and our first team. Just being a part of something great with a great bunch of guys is an awesome feeling and something to look on.
It is a tough thing to see when a player like Anthony Wallace who has done some good things didn't get his option picked up by the club, but at least he created some magical moments on the pitch and at the same time being a native New Yorker, he was able to say he was playing for a hometown club. But one of the things I will miss about Pinch Hitter is his wardrobe when he left Red Bull Arena.