In the Red Bulls’ first game of the year, the entire XI put together a strong performance albeit against a not so formidable opponent. New York won 2-0, putting a barrage of shots on Odalis Baez’s net. On a night with plenty of strong performances it was Marc Rzatkowski who really stood out.
Barring a change in formation, there are just two positions on the field without a lock-in starter. At right wing, the Red Bulls previously played a handful of different players. There’s really no telling who finishes the season with a hold on that role. In central midfield though, Tyler Adams’ departure clears way for Marc Rzatkowski to make his mark on the Red Bulls. Cristian Casseres Jr. might have something to say about that though.
Despite the Red Bulls’ system reigning supreme, it can be said that Rzatkowski for Adams isn’t a like for like switch. Rzatkowski brings something different to the table, a skill set that could give the Red Bulls an added bit of creativity to break down bunkering opponents.
On Wednesday night, Rzatkowski had a MOTM worthy performance connecting on 40/57 passes, including a key pass to Kaku who set up the second goal. Kaku and Rzatkowski put on a passing clinic opening up Atletico Pantoja’s defense all game long. Rzatkowski showcased his ability to strike from distance as well, just grazing the outside of the post late in the second half.
The prospects of Kaku at the #10 and Rzatkowski at the #8 this season will definitely give the Red Bulls a new dimension in the attack. Funnily enough, after Kaku’s assist to Royer, Rzatkowski takes a jog over to Kaku instead applauding the pass. It’s not a new combination by any means, we saw glimpses last season, but in 2019 the relationship could really blossom into something special.