Its been over a month since Marc Rzatkowski’s breakout game against Sporting Kansas City. Now the midfielder has become one of the more important players under New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas.
Rzatkowski continues to make most of his chance
Many people already knew what RBNY had in the midfield this season. Tyler Adams has taken his game to another level and Sean Davis has continued to prove how undervalued he is with quality performances game in and out. Rzatkowski was an unknown coming in on loan from Red Bull Salzburg. He earned some starts early in the season under former head coach Jesse Marsch, but did struggled to see the field until the latter’s departure from the club.
Then came his moment against SKC. He scored two goals after being subbed on. Since then, the midfielder has started six out of the last eight games since then. His positional versatility helped him get into the team as well.
However, when he plays deeper in the midfield, Rzatkowski is at his best. His ability to pick out teammates with the long ball (see the pass to Bradley Wright-Phillips on Royer’s second goal against LAFC) adds another element to RBNY going forward. The midfielder has also shown he can pick out teammates from set pieces with his left foot. He may not have the defensive capabilities of Adams or Davis, but Rzatowski is far from a liability.
With RBNY having a game against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, Davis was on the bench for the match against D.C. United, although he would come on late in the game for Kaku to help see out the win.
Against D.C., Rztakowski put these traits on display. In the first half he combined well with Michael Murillo and Derrick Etienne on the right hand side. He found them and BWP with long balls in dangerous positions, but they were unable to create anything. Aaron Long almost grabbed a goal at the end of the first half from Rzatkowski’s free kick. His header just went over the bar. The midfielder lead the team in touches and passes at the end of the first half. He would finish the night leading the team in chances created and second on the team in touches.
As the game wore on in the second half RBNY like many of the games under Armas had taken control of the match. Rzatkowski almost found Royer at the back post on a free kick, but the forward couldn’t get proper contact on the header. Both he and Adams pressed higher up the field into a more attacking role. The two combined on the initial cross that was cleared to Kaku who scored the game winner.
“I think the midfield did a really good job,” RBNY head coach Chris Armas said in a post game interview. ” You have Marc, Sean and Tyler that most off when you’re playing with two holding midfielders, you’re picking two of them.”
With the playoffs getting closer Armas feels that these types of games are good preparation for the team.
“These games are great,” Armas said. “They are great preparation down the stretch and obviously we have a goal in mind every game and to keep winning and to put ourselves in a spot for a few goals here. These are good tests for us and they feel a lot like the real thing.”
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography