I will be wrong.
After all predicting the future of every player on a roster is never easy. The task gets harder when you don’t know how many years players have left on contracts and if they are in an option year or not. Some teams do provide this information hopefully Red Bull will as well.
For the purpose of the article, I tried to think as short-term as possible and just predict how the final roster decision announcement will look. This means players could be labeled as keep and end up being traded or cut in preseason or even picked in the expansion draft. I also tried to look at it from the teams perspective as best I could.
Being GM: Predicting the future of every first team player
Luis Robles: Despite the Iron Man streak ending Luis Robles was as reliable as ever. Unlike other positions goalies age like fine wine and despite the streak of captains being dismissed I don’t think that will continue with Robles. Robles returns and leads the team from goal once again
Ryan Meara: One would think Ryan Meara would want an opportunity to be a starting goalie. However, he also makes 6 figures and has a pretty safe job. He could be at risk of being picked during the expansion draft, however, Red Bull have protected two goalies in the past. Ryan showed he can be a first-team goalie when stepping in for Luis it remains to be seen how patient he is will be waiting to get a chance.
Evan Louro: Evan was the starter for NYRBII and had a good season while also showing great growth. He was a more vocal communicator and should continue to grow with another season as the number 1 at NYRBII. Like Meara Louro will have to remain patient. He is a homegrown, so he should be protected in the expansion draft.
Kyle Duncan: The young Academy alum came back to the organization as a trialist and quickly impressed, earning a first-team deal. Due to Concacaf Champions League, he earned early opportunities to start and showed he was capable of being a very solid outside back at this level. An unfortunate knee injury vs Orlando halted that progress. He has been back training for a while now, and should be ready to go come preseason. Kyle was robbed of a breakout season last year but he will have one next year. With him coming off an injury I don’t think he will be at risk of being picked in the expansion draft.
Michael Amir Murillo: The Panamanian International had an amazing season that saw him be the topic of transfer rumors over the summer and rise into the conversation of best right back in MLS. He has at least a year left on his contract, however, I fully expect more transfer rumors to come up around him. When roster decisions are announced he will be back
Kevin Politz: I covered Politz in my NYRBII article. He improved and is on a friendly homegrown contract. Its possible he gets cut and moved to a NYRBII contract, but I don’t think that happens.
Hassan Ndam: ‘Big Hass’ showed real growth down the stretch with NYRBII. While still young, it’s time for Ndam to take that next step. Time to push for more first-team minutes. I expect him to battle for the 3rd spot on the depth chart and feature a lot more with the first team.
Aaron Long: The ‘MLS Defender of the Year’ will be back, and he should get a raise.
Kemar Lawrence: The Jamaican left back showed his worth and got a new contract. Despite rumors every offseason that he is leaving, I think he is back.
Connor Lade: The veteran homegrown is a great mentor for the young guys on the roster. He is still capable of putting in solid shifts as a backup, however, he is not someone you want as a backup if Kemar is out for the season. He is on a team friendly contract, so I see no reason to get rid of him.
Ethan Kutler: I went more in-depth in my NYRBII: Being Gm piece, but in short, I do not think Kutler will be back.
Tommy Redding: Tommy Redding had one bad game for the first team, a few bad games for NYRBII, and then disappeared. He popped back up again only to be put on the season-ending injury list. He is back training with the first team. Part of me wants to say he will be back because the Red Bulls won’t give up on a young kid with some potential, but it’s a stretch, especially with his contract being over 100k.
Cut/Possible contract renegotiation
Fidel Escobar: I have no read on the future of Fidel Escobar. I think the team may want to keep him, but if they do, they have to start him. It’s what Escobar needs at this point in his career. My best guess is the two sides part ways.
Aurélien Collin: The veteran center back had a bad season. He fell all the way to 4th, if not 5th, on the depth chart. While he is a great veteran leader, at 500k and a liability on the field, this was his last season as a Red Bull.
Out of Contract
Tim Parker: Tim Parker is a big reason the Red Bull have had the best defense in the league. However, he is out of contract and may want to test himself in Europe to improve his chances with the US National team. The Red Bull attempted to sign him through the use of TAM only for MLS to block the use of TAM funds to sign him. Re-signing him should be a top priority for the Red Bulls. When the roster announcement is made it will report that he is out of contract.
Vincent Bezecourt: The French midfielder was good but not great when he played. His season was cut short by injury, however, I do think he will be back. The odds of him coming back increase if he can ditch the international tag and get a green card.
Cristian Casseres Jr: The heir apparent to replace Tyler Adams in the midfield. He covers a ground and he is a smooth operator in the midfield. I see no reason he can’t step in and fill the hole left by Tyler Adams and even add a different element to the midfield.
Sean Davis: Another solid season for Sean Davis and he got a new contract in April. He will be back.
Derrick Etienne Jr: The Homegrown attacker saw his role and production grow this year. Next year the expectation will be to see continued growth. He is back
Andreas Ivan: I think he may be under contract as he was a mid-season signing. So, I expect to see him in preseason as he did flash some potential. However, he could face a fate similar to Muhamed Keita who was cut during the preseason training camp in Florida.
Ben Mines: Another player who saw his season cut short by injury. The young buck is back next season.
Alex Muyl: It started off rough, but Alex Muyl has been one of the best players down the stretch for the Red Bulls. One could even argue the Red Bulls do not secure the shield without him. He is a perfect fit for the system he will be back.
Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra: The shining light in the center of midfield with a pure smile and a purer left foot. He had a great season but did fade down the stretch as his assists dropped off. He will have to adjust to teams having a scouting report on him next season.
Daniel Royer: Royer has been up and down all-season having games where he can’t be stopped and others where fans are asking for him to be taken off. Overall his production has reduced with 1 less goal and 1 less assist despite playing 2 more games and starting one more. However, he got a new deal in April so despite a decline in production i would be shocked if he is cut
Florian Valot: Arguably the most detrimental injury the team has faced all season. Florian was in incredible form before his knee injury, and the team has missed his direct runs and ability on the ball. I would be shocked if he isn’t back next year.
Tyler Adams: While you never want to see your best players leave, the reality of Major League Soccer is that it is not a place where top players stay forever. So let’s remember all the great memories this young man has provided us with. I know I will be rooting for him where ever his next stop is. Hopefully the Red Bull get a nice pay out that they can use to find the next Tyler Adams
Marc Rzatkowski: The Player known as RZA is on loan and when the roster moves are announced he will be heading back to Salzburg. I would not be against him staying New York for next season however the price has to be right.
Note: Jean Christophe Koffi isn’t listed on the player page but he will be on a first-team deal next year and could be a surprise arrival in the midfield.
Brian White: The New Jersey native started strong as a NYRBII player and earned a first team contract. While his opportunities were limited he always provided great energy and showed potential to be a solid striker in this league.
Bradley Wright-Phillips: Do I really have to say anything. BWP had another good season with 20 goals. Despite being a year older he is under contract.
Anatole Abang: He showed some promise for NYRBII but not enough to get a first team call up. Its unclear what the plan is. It’s also unclear how long his contract is as it seems like he has been under contract for years now. If I had to guess his contract is up at the end of the year however the team could always bring him back.
Carlos Rivas: Rivas never made his mark and was shipped out on loan. He will either continue to be on loan or he will be gone.
That was a lot and if you made it this far thank you for reading here is what the roster will look like according to my prediction
Goalies (3): Evan Louro, Ryan Meara, Luis Robles
Defenders (7): Aaron Long, Kemar Lawerence, Connor Lade, Hassan Ndam, Kevin Politz, Michael Amir Murillo, Kyle Duncan
Midfielders (10): Vincent Bezezcourt, Cristian Casseres Jr, Sean Davis, Ben Mines, Derrick Etienne Jr, Alex Muyl, Andreas Ivan, Florian Valot, Jean Christophe Koffi, Daniel Royer, Kaku
Forwards (2): Bradley Wright Phillips, Brian White
My final Predictions will leave the team with 22 players under contract and would leave open 7 spots on the senior roster a spot on the supplemental roster and a spot on the reserve roster. I expect Koffi to potentially fill the spot vacated by Tyler Adams on the supplemental roster. Kyle Duncan will most likely fill Ethan Kutler vacated a spot on the Reserve roster. 7 spots leave plenty of room to bring some guys back while also allowing flexibility to go out and sign new players.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography