New York Red Bulls Mid-Season Grades: Midfielders

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Alex Muyl

Liam Pettit- RATING: C+ The beginning of Muyl’s season didn’t go as planned, he failed to make an impression in early games and lost his spot to Florian Valot. But as the season went on, Muyl made his mark on games here and there. Against Minnesota, Seattle, Columbus, and NYC Muyl had games when he was the most explosive player on the field. Though when he’s not at his best, Muyl can be very poor in his decision making. I can’t pinpoint why he’s inconsistent, but Muyl is just a couple of great decisions away from shifting the narrative on his game and with Valot out for the season, he has an excellent opportunity to do so.

Kyle Debelak- RATING: C He started off poorly against Tijuana at home, but has improved over the course of the season. A great rotational player for Marsch and now Armas, but that’s all.

Eric Friedlander RATING: B+ This will be a controversial take since his production hasn’t been all that great. However the wins and losses do not lie and when Muyl plays RBNY are 10-2-1 compared to 1-3-2 when he doesn’t. Muyl does all the little things that make the system ticks and serves in very good crosses from the wing. I can think of quite a few games his teammates poor finishing took away chances at assists. I have full confidence he will start finishing chances as the season goes on.

Joe Goldstein RATING C+ Muyl still faces unrealistic expectations for a young player still developing, but he generally rises to the occasion defensively. If he can figure out his play in the final third, he will become a true attacking force.


Daniel Royer

Kyle Debelak- RATING: B+ The Austrian had also started off the year not as well as Red Bulls fans would hope, but has returned to his former self as a great attacking midfielder. He has had some disciplinary issues, though, such as his recent red card against FC Dallas.

John Perdicaro- RATING: D- Oh man, Danny boy last years G.O.A.L hunter has had a really cold start to this season. What happened? A 5 game goalless drought to start the season, 4 goals over 14 games and 0 assists. Not to mention how often he gets easily dispossessed off the ball, and poor choices in passing. You really want to defend Danny and try to remain calm, because let’s face it, Bradley had cold start last year and he eventually went on to score 17 total goals. Let’s not completely panic, and throw in the towel on him this year just yet.

Roy Emanuel- RATING: B+ Outside of Bradley Wright-Philips, Daniel Royer has been New York’s best threat in the attack. Some poor decisions have cost him in the first half of 2018, but he will be expected to help lead the club deep into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Eric Friedlander- RATING: C+It has been an underwhelming season for Royer so far with only 4 goals and zero assists in MLS. Many games it seems he is behind the play or just not executing to the level we expect for him. I do value his ability to hold up play and connect however his execution needs to improve in transition. I still believe in his ability but he needs to turn it around for RBNY to compete


Florian Valot

Kyle Debelak- RATING: B Before his season ending injury, Valot had been a pleasant surprise for the Red Bulls. The midfielder had been a good link between the defense and offense, and certainly has a future with the club after impressing with Red Bulls II.

John Perdicaro- RATING: B+ What a heartbreaking ending to an otherwise wild start in the MLS, no one really thought of Florian Valot as a key piece in RBNYs attacking press when the season started, but he’s has been a relentless and great right-wing attacking Midfielder. He’s had 3 goals and 4 assists through 14 games to his name. There is still no word yet who will be his replacement until he’s able to come back next season, but the potential for more and then some was there.

Joe Goldstein- RATING: B The young, French midfielder exploded onto the first team after years in the USL. His run of form kept him in the starting lineup, and only a season-ending ACL injury could derail him.

Steve Toto- RATING: B Florian Valot had a breakout season with RBNY II in 2017, scoring nine times and adding three assists in 29 appearances. He caught the eye of the training staff and moved to the first team in the offseason. Valot registered three goals and five assists in his 14 appearances this season before tearing his ACL in the days leading up to the NY Derby in July. His missing depth could be a looming factor over how far RBNY advance in the playoffs. We wish him a speedy recovery in time for 2019.



Joseph Steen- RATING: A+ He’s been the difference maker for RBNY this year and leads the team and is tied for the lead in MLS for assists with 10. He had a scintillating run of form back at the end of April through May with three 2 assist games against three high quality opponents in Atlanta United, LA Galaxy, and New York City FC. Not to mention he’s shown he can score as well with three goals to his name.

Tzvi Machlin- RATING A- He’s leading the team/league with 10 primary & secondary assists and has both saved the team’s bacon (LA Galaxy) and provided some stellar signature moments (Portland, Montreal, Minnesota). But he tends to become completely invisible in some games and the team suffers for it.

Paul Vernick- RATING: A- The assist leader of MLS as of today, with 11 assists has been able to take control of his number 10 role on the team. The one thing he lacks is goals, maybe he can use some of this assist magic to pick up a goal or 2. He has just 3 goals this season, the last of which the May 5th win against city.


Tyler Adams

Roy Emanuel- RATING A The future of the USMNT midfield, Tyler Adams has been a key contributor this season for RBNY with his passing and exceptional vision. Rumors have linked him with a move to reunite with Jesse Marsch at RB Leipzig.

Eric Friedlander- RATING B+ Adams has only gotten better and I am very happy that he is playing at his preferred position of cm as he has the highest ceiling there. I would like to see him be a little more assertive moving forward into the attack however his defensive contributions have been immense. His ability to cover ground and shut down an entire midfield is why he is moving to Leipzig and playing on the national team. His grade drops due to very costly mistakes against Chivas and City.

Paul Vernick- RATING: B+ One of the many promising homegrown players that have been able to be a start player for the team. Has gotten called-up to USMNT due to his passing ability in the midfield.


Marc Rzatkowski

Tzvi Machlin- RATING: C+ In March RZA made it very clear that the team could not only do without Felipe, but maybe they had even upgraded! But after that injury that kept him out of action for what felt like months, he just hasn’t been the same player. When he’s at his best – he’s better than Felipe and Sean Davis. But when he isn’t at 100%, he’s a liability.

Steve Toto- RATING: B RZA has been hit with the injury bug to start off the season, making the XI only four times. It’s taken him a bit of time to get used to MLS play, but he quietly grabbed three assists in his first nine matches. He increased his stock this past weekend, scoring twice off the bench for the comeback win against SKC. He will be an important factor in the midfield now that Valot is out the rest of the year.


Vincent Bezecourt

Bill Twomey- RATING C I’d like to see more from Bezecourt. He has always played well with RB2 and hopefully he will be returning soon from his injury.

Joe Goldstein- RATING: C- RZA came into the team with a hefty price tag and high expectations. So far he hasn’t been able to crack the starting XI and struggles to play with ‘Kaku’. Right now, he is merely an expensive depth player.

Steve Toto-  RATING: B- Vincent Bezecourt had a strong start to the year, tallying two assists in the opener against Portland. He has played well as a role player in recent matches, but will need to step up for the team during the dog days of summer.


Sean Davis

Bill Twomey- RATING A Davis has made himself a house hold name in the midfield. Trading Felipe to Vancouver provided Davis the perfect opportunity to step up in the midfield so far this season.

Liam Pettit- RATING: A Quietly the most consistent player on the field for the Red Bulls, Davis logged the most minutes out of all Red Bulls midfielders in the first half of the season with 1807. Already has 7 assists on the season and he will likely add onto that total as he’s solidified himself as the Red Bulls’ set piece taker. Davis’ experience and defensive understanding along with Adams’ work-rate fostered the best defensive midfield duo in MLS.


Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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