A taxing week of travel that began dour finished with an exhilarating reward for Red Bulls midfielder Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra. Playing a world away in Amman, Jordan, Kaku got the start, scored and assisted on two goals in a come-from-behind 4-2 win for Paraguay over Jordan on Sept. 10.
The 24-year-old Red Bulls midfielder was involved in nearly everything that went right for Paraguay, who did not waver despite conceding two late first half goals (43’ and 45’) at Amman International Stadium.
Kaku assisted on the goal that broke the Paraguayan dam. His curling, outside-of-the-foot pass in the 60th minute connected with Oscar Romero, who powered in a header. The goal unsettled the Jordanians, who earlier this year finished first above Australia in Group B of the AFC Asian Cup.
Nevertheless, Jordan could not cope once former Atlanta-turned-Newcastle United midfielder Miguel Almiron was added to the mix. Almiron found himself in an unfamiliar spot in the 73rd minute, receiving a cross, but managed to head in the hanging ball and level the match. It was the only goal Kaku was not involved in, though he was still there to help Almiron up after he tripped over Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi on the finish.
Two minutes later, Kaku received the ball from Almiron and quickly delivered a crisp, bending cross that Robert Rojas attacked aerially and finished, turning the game on its head.
Kaku had already made his mark, but he added a milestone in the 89th minute, his first international goal for Paraguay. In a match where he tracked back so eagerly, in which his energy was infectious, the finish was fittingly a result of him chasing after a shot. Kaku sprinted after the long-range strike from Derlis Gonzalez and deliriously swiped in the rebound after Shafi spilled the initial attempt.
The year started so controversially for Kaku, with puzzling behavior on social media when Club America were linked with signing him and an uncharacteristic, ugly outburst in Kansas City. Since that incident, though, the Paraguayan playmaker has been one of few bright spots in an underwhelming Red Bulls team.
His season mirrors the week he just endured with Paraguay. After not seeing the field in a 2-0 loss to Japan on Sept. 5, he was the main offensive spark against Jordan. Now, Kaku will attempt to inspire a similar turnaround down the stretch for New York; at least, one can hope.