RBNY Notebook: Familiar Foes, Trialist Update, Roster Finishing Touches

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

Throughout this preseason, head coach Jesse Marsch and his New York Red Bulls have been focused on the process and progression of their system heading into the 2016 MLS season.

Now, with another MLS opponent on their schedule, Marsch understands that the scrimmage with the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday will be a little bit different.

“We will treat [the match] with the gravity it needs at this moment. There’s emotion to it. I expect the match to be spirited,” Marsch said after training on Tuesday. “We’ll be able to work on different combinations from the start… and emphasize, as we get closer, what we’re doing with the first group, and look at different guys in different spots.

‘Philly always gives us a good test.”

The Union and the Red Bulls have history. It was Philadelphia that ended New York’s Open Cup run last season. Going back to 2015’s training camp, it was the Union that punched the Red Bulls in the proverbial mouth in New York’s final preseason match. They meet Wednesday night at 7pm. The broadcast will be streamed on TuneIn and newyorkredbulls.com.

Trialist Update

The Red Bulls have three trialists remaining in camp – Aaron Long, Cheikh Mbaye and Vincent Bezecourt.

Bezecourt has been in camp since the first Florida camp. Marsch, for one, has been impressed with his play. “Vincent has done very well. He has some real soccer sense to him. Every day, he shows a little bit more understanding [of how we do things]. He has a bright future,” Marsch stated.

Mbaye and Long fill an immediate need for the Red Bulls — centerback. New York has been a bit lean on the backline, with injuries to both Ronald Zubar and Damien Perrinelle. Add in Matt Miazga’s departure, and Marsch’s roster choices have been thin.

These two trialists join recent signing Gideon Baah to attempt to fill the void.

“Cheikh Mbaye is a young Senegalese centerback who I think has all the qualities that we like. Everyday he’s getting a bit more up to speed. For him, it’s a big cultural change with language and everything else. But we like him [and] we think he has potential.”

“Aaron Long is a little bit older than those guys. He’s played pro for a little while and has a lot of good qualities,” Marsch continued. “We’re trying to use him mostly at centerback, but he’s got flexibility to play in a few different spots, he’s athletic, and he’s got good feet.”

Roster Coming Together

With the March 6th home opener right around the corner, the Red Bulls are looking to finalize their roster. Provided the trialists work out, Marsch seems to be putting the finishing touches on who will be suiting up in Harrison less than two weeks from now.

“We’re getting closer and closer to fine tuning exactly what the roster is going to look like. Everyone here right now, we hope, will stay within the organization in some way. You make good progress with players in preseason, and then sometimes you have to let them go. But that’s the great thing about having our USL team. With the way that we have things set up with the structure of this club, we can continue the process of helping them understand how to be a Red Bull player.”