As the New York Red bulls wrap up their opening half of their 2020 pre-season down in Bradenton, Florida, you look for that special someone who is going to make a statement to start the season with a purpose. That certain someone has had some injury issues that have cut his season short or ended his season after the first match.
Florian Valot is that man who has started to show why he is one of the players the Red Bulls developed from their USL Championship side and was apart of that 2017 USL title team that had Tyler Adams and Derrick Etienne Jr.
He made his MLS debut during the club’s 2018 CONCACAF Champions League run as a second-half substitute in the first leg of the Quarterfinals at Club Tijuana. Valot assisted on Bradley Wright-Phillips’ second goal and never looked back from that point on.
He also converted at Red Bull Arena against NYCFC, when he took his chance that deflected off a defender and bounced into the net past a helpless Sean Johnson. But during training before the road trip to Yankee Stadium in July of 2018, Valot tore his Left ACL.
Then in the opening match of 2019 against the San Jose Earthquakes, he tore his right ACL during a play where he got tackled down fro behind when he was attacking with the ball. His season ended right away sadly, yet knowing how determined he was to get back on the pitch, he would use all of last year to rehab for this season.
In both matches against Atlanta United and D.C. United, Valot scored twice as he wanted to show head coach Chris Armas what he can still do, regardless of both knees, going through ACL repairs.
“I feel good. It’s been two years now, I know I didn’t play last year, but it’s good to get back on the field.” said Valot “Try to find good sensations and it’s good to be back with the guys to get those results even though they are pre-season games”
How did head coach Chris Armas see Valot in action so far in Florida?
“We knew that when we lost him last year that it was a big loss for us. He brings a lot of intelligence and something different in that part of the field. He has an ease and elegance with the ball, but against the ball he still understands and commits to what we do.”
The hope for Valot right now is to get through an entire MLS season injury-free, as he showed why he is a dangerous player for the Red Bulls in the past. Let’s all hope that he can be the proleptic contributor and goal scorer that we all know he can still be.