When you watched this second group stag match for the USA in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, you would hope and believe that all those friendly games, this national team would improve tremendously when it came into international tournaments.
Someone who has taken the challenge from the start of this tournament is none other than New York Red Bulls Centerback Aaron Long, who has taken this call up to heart, and so far in two matches has played very well.
We have always seen what Long has done as a centerback with his hustle, poise and how quickly he can adapt to any situation, that comes his way on the pitch. His partnership with Tim Parker has been tremendous, but we all know that his offensive capabilities has put him down as a complete player.
So when he is out there performing for the US Men’s National Team and adds two goals on a wonderful night of attacking and defending, you have to say now that Aaron Long is a permanent member of this US Men’s National Team for the foreseeable future.
Long opened and closed the scoring for the USA to rout the Soca Warriors to a final of six goals to nil. It began late in the first half when Long got his head on a great ball to put the hosts on the board.
In the 41st minute Christian Pulisic had the ball along the far side of the pitch, then saw a space to allow Long to run towards. He crossed it perfectly, and Long timed his run to head the ball down, and forced Marvin Phillip in a position to make a save he couldn’t.
Then throughout the second half you saw a masterclass of attacking runs, crosses, and fantastic displays of skill that showed why the future of this National Team is bright. Then Aaron Long closed the scoring in the final minute of regulation as he pounced on a rebound.
Reggie Cannon crossed a brilliant ball to Weston McKennie who smashed it on frame, but Phillip was right there to make the stop, yet the momentum of the shot popped the rebound in the air.
Aaron Long found himself tracking the ball in the air, and when he got into position to put home the rebound, he headed the ball back on frame and converted his second of the match. So far he and Gyasi Zardes were the only two players to score braces against T&T and it looked fabulous.
Watching Aaron Long grow up within the Red Bulls system with Red Bulls 2 in USL Championship, to the main team has been amazing. His growth on and off the pitch has been tremendous, and while he has a defender of the year award in his back pocket, you know that he wants to hoist an MLS Cup right away.
The Oak Hills, California native has been sensational for his club, and the hope is that he will blossom into a fantastic centerback for his country, when World Cup Qualifying begins sometime down the road in CONCACAF for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
But we all know that he is a NY Player in Red through and through, as the Red Bulls gave him his start to become this sensational player, that has turned into a major cog in the future of the US Men’s National Team.