The New York Red Bulls have started their competitive season and are now focused on the second leg of their 2018 CONCACAF Champions League series with Olimpia. Meanwhile, in Arizona, New York Red Bulls II - currently a 27-man group of trialists, draft picks, II-teamers, and first-team reserves - have been seeing out RBNY’s preseason commitment to Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
The two games the II team has played to date in the exhibition tournament have certainly been educational. The Red Bulls reserves have lost 5-0 to Houston Dynamo and 4-1 to Portland Timbers. Now the team seeks to stagger out of Arizona with some dignity intact with a final game against Phoenix Rising FC.
Technically, this game will decide which team finishes 5th in Mobile Mini Sun Cup. It will also give II-team head coach John Wolyniec a look at how his prospective 2018 squad matches up against another USL side.
But for RBNY fans there is really only one reason to watch this game, and it’s a better reason than trying to second-guess who is going to have a good year with the II team in USL: Kaku will be playing.
The Red Bulls’ newest big-splash signing is expected to get some minutes, allowing RBNY fans their first look at the man it is hoped will be their team’s next star player.
It will be unreasonable to read too much into his performance: he’ll be playing in a makeshift team, alongside a number of players he’s unlikely to share many competitive minutes with this season. But it’s also the first time fans will see Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra play in a Red Bulls jersey, and it’s equally unreasonable to expect there not to be opinions about whatever it is he does against Phoenix. Once A Metro will certainly have some.