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Report: "It's just about getting him fully up to speed" - Jesse Marsch still eyeing Amir Murillo for New York Red Bulls first team start

Michael Amir Murillo had a rough first start for NYRB II, but that does not seem to have deterred Jesse Marsch's confidence that the Panama national-teamer can crack the first team lineup this season.

Matthew Stith

Seeing Red Daily does New York Red Bulls fans the excellent favor of publishing video of player and staff training-ground interviews almost every day it is possible to do so - if you're good for the entry fee, it's a rather wonderful resource.

After training on Thursday, Jesse Marsch took a break from questions about RBNY's upcoming match against D.C. United in MLS to update reporters on his thoughts about the II team. With both teams at home and NYRB II playing the day before the first team this week, there is the opportunity to get double duty out of one or two players. Marsch indicated that might well happen. A slew of MLS-contracted Red Bulls will make their way to Montclair to play Orlando City B on Friday night, but some might find their way to RBNY's bench on Saturday, April 15:

One of the more obvious candidates for bench duty against D.C. United is Panamanian right-back Michael Amir Murillo. He is penciled in for a start with NYRB II after a somewhat disappointing performance for the reserves against Harrisburg City Islanders on April 5.

Murillo made the mistake that cost the II team the game against Harrisburg. Though he is only 21, he has already broken into his national team squad and played more than 50 competitive games for a top-flight club in Panama, San Francisco. He is newly arrived in the USA and clearly needs time to adjust to the RBNY system, but it is not unfair to expect a little more of him than he showed in his first appearance at Red Bull Arena against a lower-league opponent.

Marsch would seem to share that opinion, stating that he still thinks of Murillo as a potential first-team starter in the near term, as he told reporters again this week:

I think it was good for him to get that USL game under his belt. He'll get another opportunity tomorrow night [with NYRB II]. And then it's just about getting him fully up to speed - so we've been going through that, but I think he's understanding more and more what this will take.So I think he's close to being an option to start.

Murillo is considered a right-back, and that is where he played his first game for NYRB II. If he is to win a start for the first team at that position, it means he'll have to displace two senior players: Sal Zizzo and Connor Lade. The Red Bulls have Murillo on a one-year loan with an option to buy. In principle, there is no rush to get him into the first team this year: there are older players - such as Brandon Allen and Dan Metzger, for example - who have played full seasons with NYRB II as part of their development.

But Marsch keeps suggesting he views Murillo as a future starter with the first team  sooner rather than later. Eventually, it might be prudent to believe the RBNY head coach. It would seem Murillo was signed this year to contribute to MLS this year, and perhaps the only thing holding him back is cause-for-pause performances like the one he put in against Harrisburg.

His games in USL therefore carry perhaps a little more significance than those of some of his teammates. If and when he shows the sort of form that suggests he's ready for MLS, it sounds like the MLS team he joined is ready for Murillo.