Depth Charge: Red Bulls pleased with draft picks Bilyeu, Carroll

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

For New York, the draft was less about finding starters and more about finding defensive depth.

And with newest Red Bulls Justin Bilyeu and Zach Carroll, they’ve acquired just that.

When addressing the media at the MLS SuperDraft, head coach Jesse Marsch was candid in the team’s acquisition of Bilyeu. “This was the player that we targeted,” he said. “The one thing we were trying to survey was whether there was a way to move down and still (be able to pick him).”

“He has flexibility,” Marsch continued. “he adds to our defensive depth, so I think he will be a good addition to the Red Bulls this year.”

Selected 18th overall at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, Bilyeu played in 59 games for SIU Edwardsville, starting 52. The St. Louis, Mo., native was named to the NSCAA Third Team All-West Region and the Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference. He was also named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Tournament Team after his junior season. He chipped in five goals and seven assists in his four seasons.

New York Sporting Director Ali Curtis is optimistic about Bilyeu’s prospects as well. “We’ve been looking at Justin for a while, and scouting him during the year. We got a chance to meet him and see him play at the combine. He did really well, he’s got a lot of positives, a lot of upside. We’re looking forward to him coming into camp, we’re happy that we’re able to select him.”

On a day that featured wheeling and dealing by other clubs on the table, even Curtis and Marsch considered making a trade, with one rumored partner being the Seattle Sounders.

“(We thought about moving up) a little bit, but we didn’t want to leverage too much with our roster and resources because we feel really good with what we have. We’re glad Justin was available at this pick,” Marsch stated.

The defensive trend continued in the second round, and with the 38th overall pick,adding another defensive depth piece in Zach Carroll. The Michigan alumn was originally projected to go in the first round, but fell to a late second round pick after a less than stellar combine.

Despite that, Curtis sees promise in the young Carroll.

“We really like Zach,” said Curtis after the pick. “First and foremost he’s a really good young man, and we really think he’ll fit well within the locker room and in our environment. We’re excited to have him, he’s a guy that we’ve been watching for some time now. We think he had a really good combine as well, and we saw how he stacked up against that competition. We’re excited to get him into preseason, get him going, and fit him into our style of play. It’s a good pick for us.”

With New York targeting defenders, could this be a hint at where things are with Matt Miazga? Both Curtis and Marsch similarly threw cold water on that, stating that Miazga is under contract and in the Red Bulls 2016 roster.

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  • Sammy

    You got to be kidding me….this act ain’t going to work 2 years in a row

  • Metrostars PR Dept.

    Sell the team!!! Biggest joke in sports.

    • Ken Reeves

      This isn’t a Cleveland Browns fan site. Obviously you’re confused. And not very smart. Run along.

      • slowleftarm

        after the rebranding and move to Camden you will need to run along guy.

  • Anon

    So……another player who will play a single season for their minor league team? Awesome pick guys…..keep up the good work.

  • jameson

    its not a bad thing if these guys play a year or 2 in USl to develoep, and if they aren’t good enough that will be obvious with their play – like Stolz.

    but some will eventnaully make it or surprise – remember Tim REam, he was not highly touted but played well…

    • Anon

      I think you would have to hope that your first round pick isn’t so bad that they can’t even cut it in your USL squad for more than a season. The MLS draft isn’t very deep….but your first round pick should at least stick around more than a season. If they’re so bad they don’t…..then you have to question your ability to assess potential.