As reported by SBI’s Ryan Tolmich, head coach Jesse Marsch expects his New York Red Bulls to make “some big roster moves” before MLS 2018 kicks off. RBNY fans share that expectation, with a lot of eyes and social media searching focused on the location of Alejandro Romero Gamarra: El Kaku, the player Huracan announced had been sold to the Red Bulls before Christmas.
Kaku remains elusive, but there are other transfer rumors out there for RBNY fans to consider. Among them, teenage midfielder Cristian Casseres - long thought to be Harrison-bound but recently reported to have been delayed by visa issues. Those visa issues would appear to have been resolved.
Meridiano’s Carlos Chacon reports Casseres arrived in the USA on January 19. Social media suggests he has been getting in some shopping and sight-seeing, but Chacon advises the Venezuela youth international “will be officially presented as a New York Red Bulls player in the coming days”.
The player celebrated his 18th birthday on January 20, which might have been the landmark RBNY was waiting for prior to signing him to a contract. He was part of the Venezuela men’s U-17 squad at the 2017 South American U-17 Championship, and has also registered an appearance at the U-20 level for his country.
In 2016, Casseres made his debut for Venezuelan top-flight club Deportivo La Guaira. He was a first-team regular during the first half of 2017.
It isn’t entirely clear whether Casseres is one of the “two, maybe three or four big splashes” Marsch was referring to on MLS Draft Day. His international and club experience puts him in the top tier of emerging talents in Venezuela, but his youth and lack of exposure to RBNY’s system of play suggests he will need some time to settle in.
It isn’t obvious that the Red Bulls will have room on their first-team roster for an international player who likely needs significant reserve-team minutes to adjust to his new team’s tactical preferences. A II-team contract therefore seems a distinct possibility, though the club can certainly give Casseres time in preseason to make his case for a role with the first-team.