Red Bulls, New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls 2022 Season Preview

The New York Red Bulls will kick off their 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) season Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes. The offseason additions that the Red Bulls made may have left fans disappointed but the team was able to add players via the MLS SuperDraft and a total of seven new players who can impact the roster in 2022.

Where can you watch? MSG Network 6:00 PM

Saturday is almost here and that means the 2022 Major League Soccer season and Red Bulls soccer are almost here as well! The dedicated fans of the only professional soccer team located in New Jersey have a lot of questions about this year's team because it was expected that the Red Bulls would bring in a few more players, but in the end, what they have managed to bring in wasn't so bad after all.

In total, the Red Bulls were able to add seven new players to the roster this offseason, to offset the losses of Sean Davis and Kyle Duncan. The main additions the team made via trades with other teams include full-back Dylan Nealis, and two midfielders named Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas.

By signing with the Red Bulls this offseason, Dylan Nealis has reunited himself with his brother, the team's starting center back, Sean Nealis. Dylan has played for Nashville Soccer Club (SC) since 2020, where he played considerably but that playing time was reduced from 17 matches played to three in 2021. That may not be so exciting, but the Red Bulls desperately needed to find a player who could play left-back, because Andrew Gutman went back to Atlanta United after his loan expired.

On the other hand, Lewis Morgan is an established starting midfielder in MLS and the Red Bulls should feel lucky to have him. The 25-year-old Scotsman has played two seasons with Inter Miami CF, where he was their MVP during the 2020 season. In addition to those accomplishments on the pitch, Morgan has already made an impression in interviews and newsreels produced by the Red Bulls at their spring training camp, that he wants to be a part of a winning team, more than anything else.

I want to be a part of this organization and help build a team that the fans can be proud of. I’m an attacking player, I like to be direct [and] I’m probably going to be judged on goals, assists and stuff like that but outside of that I just want to be a part of a winning culture here. - Lewis Morgan

Now let's discuss the Brazilian forward whom Red Bull signed named Luquinhas. He is a 25-year-old offensive winger who is every bit as exciting of an addition as Lewis Morgan. The 25-year-old who has come over from Poland is an attacking midfielder. He can score goals and dish out assists and was able to notch two goals in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages while playing for Legia Warsaw.

I am very, very happy that we realized a transfer on this level. Luquinhas gives us, in the attacking area, a special ability because he has the ability to create chances in one-on-one situations, he can score goals, he’s clean under big stress without time, without space. I [have] followed his performances [for a long time] and I'm very happy to have him here in my team. - Head Coach, Gerhard Struber

The additions of Morgan and Luquinhas are great, but the Red Bulls scored the fifth-fewest goals in MLS last season. In addition, the Red Bulls did not bring back Fabio, who scored the second-most goals on their team in 2021. So, to make up for Fabio's offense, the team needs a young Harrison, New Jersey native named Omar Sowe to contribute this season and Patryk Klimala to score even more than he did last season. With that in mind, Red Bull fans, let us examine the New York Red Bulls roster as it is constructed and discuss what may lay ahead for head coach Struber and the gang as the new MLS season pans into view.

The latest news on the Red Bulls

One of the biggest stories to come out of training camp thus far is that there is a new Captain in town, who will replace New Jerseyan, Sean Davis who departed the club in the offseason.

The new captain is Aaron Long, who is now the most experienced MLS player on the team, with four seasons under his belt. The head coach of the Red Bulls Gerhard Struber called making Long his captain "the right move" while also saying that it's exciting "to have him back," here's what he said:

I’m excited to have him back, back on the field and in the last few weeks, [he] show me he’s ready and fit. From the captain role, I think this is the right move. He has leadership, experience and he’s smart. In the end, it was easy to decide in this direction and I'm very happy to have him in my group.

  • Red Bulls Head Coach, Gerhard Struber

Long has not played in an MLS game since last May when he tore his Achilles tendon. When Long was sidelined last season, a defender who the Red Bulls selected in the second round of the 2019 MLS Draft replaced Long. That player was Sean Nealis, who would go on to start in 29 of New York's 34 games and to become one of the team's most reliable starters.

The Captain of the New York Red Bulls discussed why he believes his partnership with Nealis, who is four years younger than he is, is based on a strong friendship and working bond.

I think we’ve had a great friendship, long before last season. Knowing him and because he came through Red Bull II like I did. Last year, he really stepped in and filled big shoes but now he’s a guy that this team’s going to rely on, but we’re really good friends so it’s been a good partnership. - Aaron Long

Furthermore, it looks like New York will be more short-handed in the backline than previously thought. The reason for that is, Tom Edwards will not be available Saturday because he is still in England and his VISA has not been completed yet. Two starters from last year's backline will not be available for the first game of the 2022 MLS season. This means that the Red Bulls will rely on both Aaron Long and Sean Nealis to hold down the fort defensively.

Assessing the Red Bull Offense

Two things to remember is that young midfielder Wikelman Carmona or Tom Edwards will be unavailable for the season-opener against the Earthquakes on Saturday, but that's not terrible. It's not going to hurt the Red Bulls much, because like I said the Red Bulls will have the league's best center-back partnership to boot. Furthermore, Red Bulls fans should be excited because Caden Clark did not leave the club during the offseason for Red Bull Leipzig in Germany. Clark finished fourth in goals scored and tied for third in assists made among New York Red Bull players in 2021 and will be ready to pick that production back up where he left it last season-- that's great news for Coach Struber and the gang.

Undoubtedly, the Red Bulls were a team that did not score many goals last season. Because of this, New York's Red and White will need their attacking midfielders to step up and share the goal-scoring load with the only veteran striker on their roster, Patryk Klimala. Just about every team who finished ahead of the Red Bulls in the 2021 MLS East standings last year had a striker who popped ten or more goals into the net. Klimala contributed nine last seasons, which may or may not be all he's capable of and if that is the case, then the club needs two young players in Christian Casseres Jr. and Caden Clark to score goals, too!

The now, 23-year-old attacking midfielder, Casseres scored six goals in 2021, and that ranked third on the team. The 2022 MLS season is nearly here, and it will be the fifth year that both Casseres Jr. and Aaron Long will play in a Ruby Red Uniform. Not only do they need to step up and be healthy this year, but the manager, Gerhard Struber should find a way to help crucial starting eleven players like Long, Nealis, and Klimala do what they do best and ensure that the team plays well as a unit.

The Jersey Sporting News staff wishes the New York Red Bulls good luck in their first game tomorrow. You can watch the game on MSG, MSG GO or listen to it on Red Bulls Radio.

Anthony Paradiso
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