Even if you got an absurd amount of Red Bulls and Two Nines gear under your Christmas tree, what you really want can’t be received on Christmas morning. So in the spirit of Christmas, we will make a wishlist for 2019 and hope the Soccer Gods grant them. And just like a spoiled child, we not only want everything on our list, we NEED them.
8. The Red Bulls hang onto Aaron Long in January transfer window.
A late addition to the list, but on Sunday night rumors came out about interest in Long from overseas. Long is essential to New York’s defensive identity and his presence in the XI is irreplaceable. While it’s just rumor at this point, it signals the need to lock up Long sooner rather than later.
7. Michael Amir Murillo stays with New York
Rumors of a possible summer move came and went but considering Murillo’s play in 2018, it’s hard to imagine there isn’t interest out there. The Red Bulls’ style of play is predicated on talented outside backs, and retaining Murillo will provide continuity and stability on both sides of the ball.
6. Cristian Casseres Jr. Exceeds All Expectations
A lot is expected of the Venezuelan teenager who just might be the perfect replacement for Tyler Adams. On the ball, Casseres is extremely gifted more so than Tyler. Instead, it’s a matter of his defensive work-rate, can he hang with some of MLS’ best attackers like Tyler did? If Cásseres can buzz around even somewhat similarly to Adams, then the Red Bulls’ midfield have a chance at keeping its bite.
5. The Red Bulls use their 3rd DP Spot
With an influx of cash from the Tyler Adams deal, the Red Bulls might be in position to add another DP. A goal scoring right sided midfielder is a piece that has continually eluded the Red Bulls. Even with the return of Valot and the improvements of Muyl and Ivan, a proven producer at RW could put the Red Bulls over the edge.
The Red Bulls had the best regular season in MLS history even with a couple of big injuries. The losses of Lawrence, Bezecourt, Valot and Duncan were untimely but their recovery in time for CCL is important. The rest of the squad staying healthy will be imperative in order to avoid a situation like Toronto FC last season. Injuries are inevitable but limiting them gives the Red Bulls a good chance to compete in the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield at the end of the season.
3. The First Team continues to utilize NYRBII
Last year, the Red Bulls utilized several Red Bulls II players extremely well in both MLS and US Open Cup play. It’s what makes the Red Bulls who they are, and continued dedication to the famed talent pipeline should be remain near the top of their list.
2. Red Bulls Win Concacaf Champions League
This in my opinion, should be the first priority for the Red Bulls. It would be a historic moment for the team, but for the league too. Winning the continental competition will put the Red Bulls system and philosophy on view for all to see and will help in future player acquisition. It also gives the Red Bulls a chance to add another trophy to the cabinet in the World Club Cup.
1. MLS Cup
I mean what else would be #1? The Red Bulls should have another strong year, but can a Christmas wish grant the biggest present of all? I hope so.