Hey, remember when the New York Red Bulls loaned 11 first team players down to NYRBII last year for a USL game, and MLS and USL fans lost their collective minds?
Well, today is opening day for the USL and New York Red Bulls II will open their season tomorrow afternoon at Red Bull Arena, featuring a team that will likely have a very large MLS player contingent.
Head Coach Jesse Marsch recently told BigAppleSoccer's Kristian Dyer, "Sean Davis and Tyler Adams will get a game down there" before going on to list Brandon Allen, Zach Carroll, Ryan Meara, and Alex Muyl as other players who were likely to see playing time this weekend. First team players Justin Bilyeu, Derrick Etienne, and Chris Duvall also saw the field with NYRBII in their last preseason scrimmage and could feature on Saturday.
These roster moves would put NYRBII at playing anywhere between six and nine first team players this weekend.
It's a bye week for the first-team, the game provides experience for a bunch of young players, it's early in the season, and NYRBII currently only has nine players under contract. It makes sense.
But that does mean people won't lose their cool over this?
Thomas Chatterton Williams knows a little something about losing his cool. Read his book. It's pretty good.
No not really. Some fans will probably throw a hissy fit over it.
How dare a team try and maximize their talent and develop their first team players, the nerve on them!
Some Son's of Ben super fan will go into a Twitter tirade over how this is ruining the American game. A Real Salt Lake fan will take to Reddit to proclaim his or her indignation at how a team wouldn't respect the sanctity of the USL as an independent competition. And then a Sounders fan will post all of this to their Facebook to share with the world how awful the New York Red Bulls are, and how they are happy that their team would never stoop to this level.
Wait, what? Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar has said his team will be loaning down, "7-to-8" players to his team's USL affiliate? The Philadelphia Union are sending seven players to Bethlehem Steel for their inaugural game? Sounders 2 only has 10 players on its roster and will likely feature an exceptionally heavy first team contingent this week (update: they did)?
Say it ain't so Pa!
The reality of direct USL affiliates for MLS team's is that they will often feature a very heavy roster presence from their MLS teams. Get used to it. Is an 11 player loan a bit excessive? Yes, but that is going to happen from time to time too.
For the moment, no longer are the New York Red Bulls everything that's wrong American soccer. Instead what they've done have just become parts of the game, that's just reality now. But you won't hear about that. Until next time I guess.