The New York Red Bulls have endured an extended flurry of blows to their store of center backs. Damien Perrinelle injured his left knee in the 1st leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals at D.C. United, tearing his ACL: gone for months. Then Matt Miazga made his move to Chelsea of the English Premier League: gone forever.
Gideon Baah was courted by Lloyd Sam to fill a roster spot. But the hamstring issues plaguing Gonzalo Veron proved contagious, spreading to both Baah and the ever-fragile Ronald Zubar. A losing streak ensued, during which Jesse Marsch cycled through just about every possible combination of center backs his remaining roster would allow. But more lasting change to squad was warranted, and Ali Curtis did make a change: trading (if you can call a giving up a draft pick the Red Bulls probably weren't going to use anyway "trading") for Orlando City SC's Aurelien Collin.
Collin is a hard-nosed defender, who is best known for the more physical aspects of his game. He isn't afraid of contact (if anything, he is too enthusiastic - as his accumulation of yellow and red cards in MLS attests). And that is true at both ends of the pitch: when his team has set pieces in a good position, Collin always makes sure he gets into the scrum to convert any chance that comes his way.
While Baah is slowly getting back to fitness and played 45 minutes with New York Red Bulls II in a 2-0 loss against the Charlotte Independence, Collin flew from Orlando to the Red Bulls training facility in Hanover. Collin will have one more trip back to Orlando to collect his things when he takes on his old side on Friday evening.
After the 4-0 win over FC Dallas last Friday, here is what Jesse Marsch said about acquiring Collin.
Well, we felt like we needed one more piece back there to solidify our defense. Obviously we've given up a lot of goal. That hasn't been good. We've been looking around at different opportunities to add a piece. We were thinking at the beginning of the year that maybe we'd wait until the summer window or see how got through this. But we thought now that given everything, it was time to make a move. And to be able to get access to a player like (Aurelien) Collin, I think we're very lucky. I think he's going to fit the way we play really well. He's a true competitor.
Before going to Orlando City in last season's expansion draft, Collin was a stalwart central defender for Peter Vermes and Sporting Kansas City. Winning the US Open Cup in 2012 and the MLS Cup in 2013 were perhaps his most notable accomplishments. From RBNY's perspective, he was a defensive nuisance who frustrated Thierry Henry every time they faced each other. Now that he is with the Red Bulls, you wonder how Collin feels being with his new club and new teammates.
I fell like I will fit very easy and I will adapt pretty quickly. It's a good group & family group, they are making it feel easy and I can't wait to get on the field. I feel like I can adapt to a physical club and a technical club & New York is the one that is physical as they need to be and as technical too. I am very happy to be apart of this team.
And communication shouldn't be too much of an issue as RBNY adds another Francophone defender to its ranks. Right now it looks like a Collin will be a good fit, and we might get the first chance to see that fit when the club takes on Orlando on Friday.