What does Mathias Jørgensen bring to the Red Bulls’ front line?

The signing of Mathias Jørgensen, points to the New York Red Bulls finally finding an understudy to Bradley Wright-Phillips. Though just 18-years-old, Jørgensen’s intelligence and movement off the ball are more refined than the average teenage player.

Jørgensen’s ability to work within the half-spaces between defenders is potentially his most dangerous specialty. His goals at Odense Boldklub started through quick counter attacks. Jorgensen finishing chances after darting between two defenders and receiving a through ball. There is little hesitation in his movement off the ball. That’s a trait that will be essential to his survival in a high-octane Red Bull team.

His awareness of space was ever present for the club’s youth teams and Denmark’s youth national teams as well. Against Switzerland’s U-19 squad, Jorgensen split defenders before finishing the move off with his weaker left foot. This run has become a trademark of Jørgensen’s that has cut open teams across all levels on several occasions.

However, just three goals in fifteen appearances for Odense rightfully raises suspicion over his finishing ability. He scored two goals in the Alka Superligaen and a goal in the Sydbank Pokalen. Those goals preceded a mixture of twelve starts and substitute cameos where he failed to score. Similarly, his seven goals for OB’s U-19 side came in just two matches.

If Jørgensen is meant to spell Wright-Phillips during the season, his energy will catch tired defenders off-guard and create scoring opportunities. His movement can be utilized to stretch compact teams and produce goals even if he is not the direct contributor. As he finds his feet, the confidence in front of goal and subsequent goals will come to fruition.

His profile also allows New York to play in a 4-2-2-2 with more efficiency and fluidity up front. There will be growing pains while he and Wright-Phillips develop a sound partnership, but the proposition of undergoing this systematic change could be worth the reward of improving their productive offense.

Jørgensen’s role would mirror that of Yussuf Poulsen for RB Leipzig as he will position centrally, waiting for the ball to be played to his feet or into his run. Wright-Phillips would then drift into wide spaces to pull out defenders and open gaps for his Danish partner to exploit. This would demand Jørgensen to be more of physical presence, especially if he sits on the shoulders of his defenders, but it is a trait that will develop over time.

Jørgensen’s $2.5 million price tag is no cheap excursion in MLS. However, the potential he has within the Red Bulls’ system is worth the investment. Denis Hamlett already backs him to see a substantial amount of time with the first team, and that is a testament to just how much faith the organization have in their new starlet lighting up the league in his first year in New York.

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