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2015 New York Red Bulls Report Card: Matt Miazga

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The young center back delivered on his potential, earning himself a starting spot.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls have a bad track record with their homegrown players. Whether it's shipping them off too early or not giving them a chance, not many of New York's academy products have stuck.

Matt Miazga is one of the few exceptions to this tumultuous past. Emerging as a young star at the club level this season, he earned his first call-up for the United States men's national team in November. He earned himself some pretty flattering transfer offers as well, with a number of Premier League clubs looking to capitalize on the youngster's heightened level of play. Finishing fourth in MLS Defender of the Year voting, the young center back was vital to the Red Bulls' Supporters' Shield run.

Player Stats (regular season):

26 Appearances

24 Games Started

2128 Minutes Played

1 Goal

1 Assist

Player Grade: A+

Things Done Well:

You don't finish fourth in Defender of the Year voting if you haven't done a lot of things well. Miazga's game took a massive leap forward this season and it showed in a lot of different areas. For one, it was practically taken for granted that he would win almost every aerial duel that he participated in. Using his rare combination of height and pace, Miazga was a rock when it came to defending set pieces and a scoring threat when it came to attacking on them. Arguably the best moment of his season, Miazga's goal against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium came off of a Sacha Kljestan free kick. Couple that with the awesome celebration, and you have an instant fan favorite.

Miazga also improved with the ball at his feet. While he only registered one assist on the season, the long ball became a useful weapon that helped RBNY stretch opposing defenses all season long.

Things Done Poorly:

Matt Miazga, for all his talent, does have his flaws. Although he's a New Jersey native, Miazga has a stereotypical New York temper. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and while that might not always be a bad thing, he accounted for 2 of the team's 3 red cards all season. He also conceded some rash fouls throughout the year, but hopefully this part of his game will improve with time and experience.