Red Bull Mid-Season Report Card: Midfielders

In part 3 of our report card series we take a look at the Midfield. This is by far the biggest group on the team but bigger is not always better.

Central Midfielders

Vincent Bezecourt: C

After his season ended early last year with an MCL tear, 2019 was going to be tough for Bez to get back into the groove of things and find a spot within the 18. The bulk of his playing time this year has been due to Kaku’s suspensions, yet he hasn’t been able to take full advantage of his time on the field and replicate his success from the USL to MLS.

Cristian Casseres: B+

The front office brought him in knowing he would become Tyler Adam’s long-term replacement. However, hasn’t been given that full chance to become the team’s next midfield destroyer, with Armas choosing to play Davis and Rzatkowski in the center of the park. You have to give him credit though; in nearly half the games he’s played in, the young Venezuelan International has contributed to the team’s offense in getting on the board. When it comes to his defensive responsibilities, there is still tons of room for improvement with a high ceiling. Sound familiar?

Sean Davis: B

Davis has had a rough year. In a year many expected him to take off and become a midfield general for the team, he has sadly disappointed. Yet you can’t really fault him completely for his performances so far. He’s been given more defensive responsibilities than in previous years with Armas playing him more as a 6; whereas he’s excelled more in the 8 and even 10 position under Jesse Marsch.

Marc Rzatkowski: B

The German seems to have settled down and gotten more acclimated in his second year with the club. However, his performances have to be more consistent on a game-to-game basis. It may not help that he’s also been playing more defensively this year when he’s much more of an attacking player, capable of pulling strings in the attacking third. He just doesn’t have the bite to be playing in front of the backline. It’s unfortunate because Rza and Davis could have a much higher ceiling within the league.

Alejandro Romero Gamarra: B-

Talk about a rollercoaster of a year for Alejandro Romero Gamarra. An offseason full of transfer speculation, an unnecessary three-game suspension, to four consecutive games with at least a goal or assist, then another straight red card. For being a Designated Player and the expectation he knows he carries within the team, he has to do MUCH better. It would also help his cause if he has plans of playing abroad or getting called back up to the national team.

Jean-Christophe Koffi: N/A

Koffi has yet to appear for the first team, though has slowly become a mainstay in the starting eleven for John Wolyniec and NYRB II.

Wide Midfielders

Marcus Epps: N/A

Epps hasn’t featured enough for the first team to warrant a grade, having last featured as a sub on June 8th at his previous stomping ground in Philadelphia. His only start for New York was the opening weekend when most starters were being rested for CONCACAF Champions League. We can only hope he improves with the USL squad and becomes a long term solution for the team on the wings.

Derrick Etienne Jr.: C

See ‘Sean Davis’. Both are having similarly frustrating seasons and it’s become even tougher for Etienne to see the field with more competition on the wings and up top. He has yet to start more than 10 games in a season and continues to bounce between USL and MLS. You have to wonder what the organization’s intentions are with ‘the Haitian Messi’ long term and his contract ending this year. They didn’t hesitate to renew Davis’ contract though. Stay tuned.

Omir Fernandez: B+

The rookie out of Wake Forest could not have wished for a better start to the season getting playing time in the CCL and even scoring his first professional goal down in Mexico. This left supporters wanting more, as Omir’s confidence grew, you would just expect him to get better and better. Frustratingly enough, Armas continues to leave him out of the 18. When he has seen the field though, Fernandez has been a great spark off the bench contributing with 2 goals and 2 assists. If he can find consistent playing time from here out, expect him to be in the running for the MLS Rookie of the Year Award.

Andreas Ivan: C-

Another young player with tons of promise and the talent to show for, yet no production. Stop us if we sound like a broken record.

Ben Mines: N/A

The homegrown just started to get playing time with the baby bulls over in the USL Championship after coming back from a season-ending injury.

Alex Muyl: B

Aside from Royer, Alex Muyl is a main plug-in for Armas’s starting line-up. He may not have the stats to back up why he deserves to start every game, but the kid doesn’t give up and never stops running; the mantra of the Red Bull organization. His skills have slowly shown improvement, but he is still not the game-winning winger that New York desperately needs.

Daniel Royer: A

Somebody get this man a chiropractor! His back gotta be hurtin’ for carrying this team throughout the first half of the season. Three letters: MVP.

Florian Valot: N/A

Ugh, don’t even remind me…so agonizing, excruciating, upsetting. I mean that literally and figuratively, for both parties.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

About Wilson Quiceno

Born & raised in New Jersey to a Colombian, fútbol-loving family, soccer was in my blood. I grew up going to some Metrostars games at the old Giants Stadium and was simply a fan. However, it all changed for me in 2006: the Metrostars became the New York Red Bulls, I went from fan to die-hard supporter, and they linked their name on to my heart ever since. I am excited to join the RBNN team as we cover anything and everything Red Bull!

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2 Comments on “Red Bull Mid-Season Report Card: Midfielders”

  1. I’d quibble with you giving both SD and RZA “B”s. I think both have been very inconsistent this year, leaving the backline exposed again and again when they play together. If you’re giving Robles, Parker and Murillo “C”s, then I think you’d have to do the same for these two guys despite their obvious talent. Armas has to take some blame here as well given he often plays them together when the results have been fairly clear that they don’t work well as a pair.

    Keep up the good work…

    1. Mark, I totally agree. The gaping holes in central midfield consistently cause problems for the back line … who are are playing a step slower and much more disjointed than last season. The one constant throughout this season is SD. The combination of him and RZA is ineffective. They are just not a good pairing, and it is costing the team points.

      Sadly, Armas shows no desire to address the sieve in midfield. Of course, he also continues to play Muirillo, who waves to opposing players as they sprint by on the way to a one on one with Robles or an easy tap in for their striker. So while the players are underperforming, Armas deserves a C- for his inability to address the team’s major defensive issues.

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