After four preseason scrimmages behind closed doors, the New York Red Bulls are finally giving their fans an opportunity to see for themselves how the 2018 squad is shaping up. The team plays USL’s Phoenix Rising FC on February 10 in Arizona - and yes, the game will be streamed online.
Oh yeah....we have a match tonight!— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) February 10, 2018
⏰: 7pm (gates open 6pm)
: Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
: https://t.co/hBydq783AP (Box office opens at 1 pm)
: https://t.co/p0GNF8vqad #RisingAsOne pic.twitter.com/tF5THoXLSa
Lucky, lucky RBNY fans will have a chance to see at least a few of the squad’s new faces, and determine whether any more familiar players are being groomed for new roles on the team.
The Red Bulls haven’t entirely revealed exactly who they brought to Arizona for this phase of preseason, though we know the squad is primarily those players the team expects to count on for its CONCACAF Champions League games against Olimpia on February 22 and March 1. Whoever is on the plane to Houston on February 17 (where the CCL squad will get in some further training before flying to Costa Rica for the first leg of the Olimpia series) will likely see the field against Phoenix. Head coach Jesse Marsch only has two more scheduled preseason games to help with his final decisions about form, fitness and whatever else he needs to figure out before he finalizes his CCL roster. So this match is 50% of the game-time players have left to stake their claims to places in the 18 on February 22.
Focusing on new faces we think we know are in Arizona at the moment, keep an eye for trialist Kyle Duncan. The full-back is a Red Bulls Academy product and former US youth national team prospect. He’s back on RBNY’s radar after a couple of years with Valenciennes in France, and it’s not yet clear whether his role in Arizona is restricted to making training more competitive or if Marsch thinks the 20-year-old has something to offer the CCL campaign.
Venezuelan teenager Cristian Casseres has featured regularly in the team’s social media output this preseason. He is on a first-team contract and might be closer to first-team minutes than one would reasonably expect of an 18-year-old joining a squad with several more seasoned options at his position (central midfield, we believe).
The pair of players RBNY acquired from Orlando in exchange for Sacha Kljestan - center-back Tommy Redding and forward Carlos Rivas - could reasonably be considered stronger candidates for first-team roles than either Casseres or Duncan. And forward Amando Moreno - a former RBNY Homegrown signing, now returned to the team from a stint with Tijuana - surely did not cut short his efforts to make his name in Liga MX just to make up the numbers in MLS.
The team’s other new additions, Marc Rzatkowski and Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra (hush now; they’re going to sign him - or they’d have said they’re not by now), don’t appear to be with the team at the moment.
Kaku, Rza, Meara don't seem to be in Arizona.— Anunciar Kaku FC (@Jerzyiroc) February 7, 2018
But RBNY has been coy about revealing exactly who is in Arizona, and absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
New faces and whatever new ideas Jesse Marsch might have about RBNY’s formation and tactics will perhaps be the most interesting things on offer from this game to Red Bulls fans.
On the Phoenix Rising side of the field, there should be one of world soccer’s biggest names: Didier Drogba is still playing for the team he invested in last year.
Also keep an eye out for Shaun Wright-Phillips, reunited with his Chelsea teammate Drogba after a couple of seasons playing alongside his brother Bradley for RBNY. And the team has recently added former RBNY U-23s defender Joe Farrell to its roster.
And Matt Harmon is back with Red Bulls Radio!
Tune in, RBNY fans. The result may not matter in the slightest and you can’t trust any conclusion drawn from the fourth game of preseason - but it’s RBNY soccer in 2018, and there hasn’t been much of that to date.
Phoenix Rising FC vs New York Red Bulls - preseason friendly
When: 9:00 pm, Eastern; Saturday, February 10, 2018
Where: Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, Tempe, AZ
TV: YurView Arizona
Mobile Mini Sun Cup: Phoenix Rising FC vs. New York Red Bulls 02.10.18
Live Feed: Phoenix Rising FC vs. New York Red Bulls 02.10.18Posted by Phoenix Rising Football Club on Saturday, February 10, 2018