Remember April 22, when the US U-23 Men's National Team took on Mexico in Carson, California and won 3-0? Of course you do, because the game involved about 50 minutes of the New York Red Bulls' own Dan Metzger.
He wasn't in the starting lineup, but injuries to Alejandro Guido and Jose Villareal forced head coach Andi Herzog into some unexpected substitutions: Metzger was on the pitch from the 40th minute.
RBNY fans can expect to see Metzger play for NYRB II most weeks. He signed a USL contract with the Red Bulls' development squad, which means he isn't one of those players who can easily bounce between RBNY's MLS roster and its USL team. But he has been getting call-ups for the U-23s recently, and if that continues, he'll be in the mix for a shot at CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in October. And if the U-23s make the Olympic tournament, he should at least be considered for that squad, regardless of what happens this year (because the Brazil competition is a long way off and youth team rosters are often fairly volatile).
But we are here to focus on Metzger's most recent outing. This "every touch" highlight reel provides the opportunity to see how he fared.
As you may have noticed, Metzger didn't get off to the greatest start: pretty much his first touch was losing the ball in his own defensive third [0:30 in the video]. But he had some encouraging moments: almost playing Jordan Morris in on goal after winning an aerial battle in close proximity to the sideline [0:48] and making a series of timely interceptions.
His highlight moment was arguably a length-of-the-field sequence which he initiated - receiving the ball from Cody Cropper in the defensive third - and nearly concluded, bursting into the final third to collect a loose ball and play Morris in for a one-on-one opportunity (the forward's first touch was just a fraction too heavy to make the most of it) [start at 1:16].
All told, the video describes a player who reads the game well - repeatedly nipping in for interceptions and to break up the opposing midfield's rhythm - and brings a quick and confident touch to his attacking distribution. A promising show from RBNY's young midfielder, and one you can enjoy most weeks NYRB II is in action.
Until his next call-up. The U-23s will participate in the Toulon Tournament in France from May 27 to June 7. We hope Metzger gets another opportunity to show what he can bring to the Olympic qualifying effort in due course.