New York Red Bulls Mid-season Grades: GK & Defenders
John Perdicaro- RATING: A+ With a goal differential of 17 and only 17 goals allowed at the halfway mark, RBNY lead the league by 4 fewer goals allowed. Now one can argue this in large part due to Aaron Long and trusty partner Tim Parker, but Luis’s stats are what we focus on here. His Iron Man record ended this year at 184 MLS games played straight, however in the 14 of 17 games played he’s allowed only 14 goals, with 49 saves, and 5 shutouts. Overall RBNY has only allowed 1 goal a game, this season. Despite his three game injury Luis is and continues to be a iron-wall for RBNY
Tzvi Machlin- RATING: A Hard to ask for more from Robles. 5 clean sheets, an average of 1 goal allowed per game, an epic performance against Toronto FC. If he were just a little better at defending set pieces, this team would be a bonafide defensive juggernaut.
Joe Goldstein- RATING: A+ Robles has been everything the team has needed as both captain and goalkeeper. Backstop for the best defense in MLS is worthy of a perfect score.
OVERALL RATING: A+
Liam Pettit- RATING: A The Yonkers native stepped up when Luis Robles’ Iron-man streak ended right before a crucial fixture against Atlanta United. Without Meara’s 6 saves the Red Bulls might not have walked out of the Mercedes Benz Stadium with 3 points. Unfortunately, Meara picked up a knock before a guaranteed fourth consecutive start in the U.S Open Cup. The Red Bulls were knocked out by the Union hindering Meara’s shot at more minutes this season. While he only played three times, his strong outings reinforced a spirit of readiness at a point in the season when their depth needed to step up.
Kyle Debelak- RATING: A It is a minor miracle in itself that the Jamaican fullback is still playing for the Red Bulls. Not only has he improved as a defender, he has also added a few goals to his game. It should only be a matter of time before Europe comes calling.
Joseph Steen- RATING: A Taxi has become of the one of the leaders on the team this season for me. He continues to be rock solid at his position defensively making several key tackles at big moments. He’s even grabbed himself a couple of goals this season including a game winner against Toronto FC.
Joe Goldstein- RATING: A Lawrence can still get caught out of position, but his workrate this season is the highest it has been during his tenure at RBNY. Adding goal scorer to his list of attributes makes him even more dangerous for Red Bull.
John Perdicaro- RATING: B+ Despite a scare that he was going off to Europe earlier in the year, Kemar has not disappointed this season with his strong forward presence and ability to run back defensively. That has netted him 2 goals and 1 assist in the 14 games he’s played. I would prefer to see him take part in more set pieces under Chris Armas, but time will tell. There are a few complaints about his production in the late stages of the game, but that’s due to his stamina and not a lack of trying.
Tzvi Machlin- RATING: B+ Somehow Kemar has managed to squash the injury bug that has plagued him the past 2-3 years. He’s been a rock at LB and shrugged off knocks that looked far more serious to the team than anyone else. His goals against Dallas and Toronto were pretty solid too.
OVERALL RATING: A
Joe Goldstein- RATING: A Parker has hardly put a foot wrong since being thrust into the team against the Xolos. He can still struggle at times with distribution, but he and Long have formed a great partnership.
Bill Twomey- RATING: A Parker has become a staple in the Red Bulls defense. The Red Bulls got a great deal on Parker and he fits right in. He also got a very much well deserved call up to the USMNT.
Steve Toto- RATING: A- Jesse Marsch surprisingly sold off Felipe during the MLS preseason, a player familiar with the 44-year old back to their Montreal Impact days. Enter Tim Parker. Parker has been massive for RBNY and has paired nicely with Aaron Long. The duo have led the team to a league-best 19 GA & 0.95 GAA. His performance was good enough the earn him a call to the USMNT in June. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue for the 25-year old Long Island native.
OVERALL RATING: A
Eric Friedlander- RATING: A- Long has picked up where he left off last year and has continued to dominate on the backline. Personally I think he is better overall player than parker and deserves a national team call up. I give him an A minus because he had a few games where he made uncharacteristic mistakes. However his A minus is the type that you beg your teacher to round up to an A but they never do.
Liam Pettit- RATING: A While Tim Parker has received a lot of attention, Aaron Long has logged the most minutes on the team and has been the most consistent. As a ball playing center back, Long has been decisive in his man-marking and playmaking. The bright spot of his season came against FC Dallas when he scored off a corner and helped mantain a clean sheet playing with ten men. I believe he deserves a call up come September when the USMNT plays Brazil and Mexico.
OVERALL RATING: A-
Michael Amir Murillo
Joseph Steen- RATING: B+ There’s a reason Murillo is being targeted by European teams as he continues to improve his game. Defensively he has improved a good amount this year and his ability to provide an outlet down the flank is always a danger to teams. He also started in all three of Panama’s group stage games at the World Cup which is another big accomplishment for him.
Roy Emanuel- RATING: B Murillo has been an outstanding right-back, and represented his home country of Panama in their first World Cup this summer. He appears set on a transfer this summer though, and Red Bulls fans may have seen the last of him in Harrison.
Paul Vernick- RATING: B- a rising star in MLS and on the Panamanian national team, Murillo has played limited minutes since the beginning of June due to the World Cup. Young and promising, he along with a number of few names will be receiving phone calls from across the Atlantic in the coming days.
OVERALL RATING: B
Joseph Steen- RATING: B- I think Lade has done a good job when he’s been called upon this season. He’s not going to give RBNY much going forward but his defensive attributes are good. He’s had some trouble with injuries this year, but if he’s healthy going forward he provides a good rotation fullback off the bench.
John Perdicaro- RATING C- Once a starter Connor Lade was quietly pushed back to the sub bench because of Michael Murillo, now it’s no fault of Connor. However the times Connor has taken the field have been extremely finicky, there are days where you get shut down right-back Connor Lade and then you get ‘I swear we have 10 out on the field’ Connor Lade and that inconsistency is why it’s so hard to see him as permanent retainer of that position. However, he has shown sign of improvement since Murillo has been at the World Cup, I just think it’s not good enough, even if he gets praise from Armas.
OVERALL GRADE: C
Eric Friedlander RATING: B If I was judging just off the first team I would give him a non-complete because the sample size is way too small. For the purpose of this activity I will consider what I’ve seen at rb2 as well. At Rb2 he has grown and his decision making has gotten quicker. He still makes mistakes from time to time they are becoming less frequent. You can also not deny he was stellar, much to my surprise, in his outings with the first team
Roy Emanuel RATING: B Moved into a reserve role in favor of Aaron Long and Tim Parker, Aurelien Collin has provided excellent depth for the Red Bulls back-line. His experience and leadership will be a benefit as the postseason approaches.
Paul Vernick RATING: C Under Marsch & CO. (Armas, too) he has played only 5 games this season, but was able to rack up 9 fouls in the few minutes played. He has began to take up a mentor role to Long, Murillo and the rest of the back line.
OVERALL RATING: C+
Photo by Bill Twomey