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Photo essay: Michael Amir Murillo’s first competitive game as a Red Bull

He might prefer to forget it, but Murillo’s first competitive game since he joined RBNY deserves acknowledgement.

Michael Amir Murillo playing for New York Red Bulls II at Red Bull Arena; April 5, 2017
Poised, not posed.
Matthew Stith

Michael Amir Murillo’s first competitive appearance since joining the New York Red Bulls was for the club’s reserves in USL. He got to experience playing at Red Bull Arena, and had his first real test as a full back in the RBNY system - which was largely the point of the exercise, so he got what he most needed out of close to 70 minutes work for NYRB II.

But he will have hoped for a slightly better memory of his first game in a Red Bulls shirt. Murillo had the tough assignment of keeping Harrisburg City Islanders’ Manolo Sanchez quiet - something he succeeded in doing only occasionally.

Sanchez got his start as a pro player with RBNY, and was a lively and effective presence on the wing for his latest club. Not unfamiliar with Red Bull Arena, the 25-year-old had several scoring opportunities, but was gifted a can’t-miss chance by a misjudged Murillo header.

Murillo was subbed out shortly after Sanchez scored the 62nd minute goal that would win the game for Harrisburg. Better days surely lie ahead for the Panamanian full back, who is well-regarded by RBNY’s coaching staff.

But Matthew Stith was at Red Bull Arena on April 5, 2017, to capture Michael Amir Murillo’s first competitive game as a Red Bull.

Find more of Matthew Stith’s work on his website or Instagram.