Sunday afternoon is what we expected from him when he finally got back out there on the pitch at Red Bull Arena. What we saw was a year and a half of hard work for Florian Valot as he made his return again in a New York Red Bulls kit.
In the sunshine looking down through the roof at the cathedral of football, we saw a full 90 minutes of Valot making runs, plays and setting up teammates who converted their chances twice, to take a lead at halftime, but got the result they needed to have a positive start to the season.
it was something special to see Valot have the game he had after coming back not just from one, but two ACL Reconstructive surgeries that plagued him for a long time. We saw his ascension with Red Bulls II winning the ‘USL cup title back in 2016, slowly moving up to the first team with that big run in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2018, but sadly halfway thru that season, he suffered the ACL tear in his right knee in training back in July.
After going thru the motions of that surgery and rehab, he would start the 2019 season against the San Jose Earthquakes, but sadly would get knocked out for the whole year due to a challenge from behind that tore his ACL in his left knee.
”Toughest was the first one. Never dealt with it. Mentally it’s tough, physically it’s tough. I was prepared for the 2019 season, and unfortunately, it happens again.” said Valot “Coming back was hard, but I made it through because of what we have here, with the coaches, players, family, and friends, and the fans, couldn’t be more thankful for all of this.”
Someone who knows about these sorts of injuries from his past as a player is head coach, Chris Armas, as he would be in Valot’s cheering section to get through these tough times.
”I’ve been with him along the way, every step of the way with those injuries, and I say that just because I’ve seen how hard it has been for him.” said Armas “One, it’s hard for a player to go through injuries like that because the thing you love, maybe one of the things you love most get taken away over six, seven, eight months. And imagine experiencing that and then coming back, and then it happens again almost immediately.
”So this does it truly make you stronger. I think it actually can because I’ve seen him come back with a different edge with an almost greater love for being out there in training every day. So now, even for him, you know, what I say is the greatest reward is for a player to play well. Sometimes even when you don’t win, you just play well, you just feel really good. He’s had a whole preseason now, even the end of the season, to be back out there.
So now to see him on opening day, imagine how he’s feeling, two assists, part of a team victory, opening day, my knee is opening up. But I think we can all see what Flo offers us, on the ball, intelligent, can pass, call things down. We can see that he will be a big piece for us this year.”
We all know how hard it was to see Valot not taking part in training, performing, and showing how happy he was to be apart of the club when it matters the most, but once the club got back inside the tunnel and headed for their locker room, you saw Valot’s face show relief and happiness that the next major hurdle passed with flying colors.
Laying off a ball into space for Kyle Duncan to run into it and then chip the keeper, then a solid pass into the middle of the area for Kaku to place it inside the near post. That is a man with technical ability who knows how to get the job done.
But for now, that’s just one game with 33 plus a possible US Open Cup or Leagues Cup run as well as the playoffs, if this club can make it that far. But that’s why they play the games, so we can see the greatness that Flo Valot can show once again to the supporters of this club.