Lost in the fanfare of Bradley Wright-Phillips' history-making night was the fact that Gonzalo Veron and Omer Damari looked very solid in limited action. That is good news because both could be key to the New York Red Bulls' CONCACAF Champions League ambitions.
Speaking of the CCL... the Red Bulls are heading down to El Salvador on a very short turnaround for a match against Alianza - so short that the team only had 24 hours to train and will have a few hours to get back on a plane and head back to the US after the match is over.
For this match we should expect a hearty helping of Red Bulls II stars such as Aaron Long, Tyler Adams and Derrick Etienne to shine. But if the team really wants to make the most out of its investments in Veron and Damari, Jesse Marsch will give the two DPs plenty of minutes against the Salvadoran outfit.
Here is the New York Red Bulls predicted XI vs Alianza:
GK Ryan Meara
DF Justin Bilyeu
DF Kemar Lawrence
DF Aaron Long - Jesse Marsch didn't bring Aaron Long all the down to Central America just to give him a few minutes in the second half. With Aurelien Collin ailing, Long will see significant time on the field.
DF Sal Zizzo
MF Sean Davis
MF Tyler Adams
MF Shaun Wright-Phillips - After playing a big role in the Red Bulls' victory over Antigua, Bradley's big brother gets another callup.
MF Felipe - Seems like it's been forever since Felipe got a rest, but it won't be on Tuesday.
MF Omer Damari - Hard to tell if Damari is truly "ready" for big minutes in MLS, but a road game against what should be considered one of the easier foes on the schedule will be as good a testing ground as he'll get over the final weeks of the season.
FW Gonzalo Veron - August has been a strong month for Veron so far. He scored a goal against LA, showed tremendous skill against Antigua and Montreal, and just might be ready to turn the corner.
A win against Alianza would be RBNY's first road win of any kind since the win over Rochester Rhinos back in June. But given the travel circumstances, lack of rest and presumably hostile environment, even a tie would go a long way towards getting the Red Bulls to the CCL quarter-finals.
What do you think?