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Three questions with Alex Muyl

Between an inspiring win and a critical match, the fiery winger contemplates what led to a sudden change.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC
Alex Muyl jawing at Leandro Gonzalez Pirez during the Eastern Conference Final last November.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

HANOVER, N.J. – Alex Muyl made a beeline to the backdrop along the RB Training Facility fence on Friday, with a stoic seriousness that has come to define him. In a season short on answers often lacking the traits that have made the Red Bulls a perennial winner, there was perhaps no better player to address the range of emotions at a potential turning point for the club:

OaM: You mentioned how the game in Portland was a good bounce-back performance. But, it felt like it was able to be played on your terms more than a lot of games this year. What do you feel led to that?

Muyl: I think that, first of all, everyone was bought in. I think that, the feeling around the team, maybe it was out of desperation or about just guys being really hungry, but it felt like everyone on that field was ready to run until they died. Everyone was going to leave everything on the field, you know, there was no tomorrow, we weren’t thinking about Sunday with Philadelphia, it was just about emptying the tank completely.

And, I think you just see that, when you have guys who are, you know, Tom Barlow was ready to run into the ground, [Kyle] Duncan, [Cristian] Casseres, Marc Rzatkowski, Sean [Davis], Josh Sims, everybody, I think when you have a lot of guys who are ready to do that, it’s hard to play against, especially for a team that doesn’t play us week in, week out and know us too well. You know, they only play us once a year, so they might not necessarily be ready for it.

OaM: You mention the five guys in the midfield there. Coming off short rest, you also mention the mentality going into the game, but what allowed you guys to have that type of performance? Was it helped by Cristian playing in that 6-role, you getting a first start in a month, what do you think led to that?

Muyl: Maybe it was desperation, maybe it was just, I don’t know, hunger? I think maybe frustration in ourselves for not winning for a while. So, I think that, if we can get that kind of, I don’t know, desire, and just the need for victory, to not lose, I think that would be a good thing for our team – not that we lost that, but just to double down on it and remember there’s always more in the tank, even when you think you’re empty.”

OaM: And on Kyle [Duncan], how happy were you to see him score his first MLS goal?

Muyl: Yeah, it was a great play. I think, classic Red Bull-type play. And I think Kyle did really well to, you know, frame the box, come in and finish. I don’t think it was an easy finish to do, and he did really well to get it on goal. And I think, with Kyle as well, it’s just about, he has so much talent, it’s just about not letting certain plays slip.

And I think, a couple times in the first half it felt like, OK, you have to do a little better. But, I think by second half, he was lights-out, and then he was involved again in the second goal. So, he needs to just make sure he’s tuned in at all times, that he doesn’t let plays slip, and he’ll be a very, very special player.