RBNY Notebook: Spending Wisely

Matt Kremkau

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

imagesThe Major League Soccer Players Union released the list of 2017 player salaries earlier this week and the New York Red Bulls continue to be an effective force on the field while adhering to budget restraints.

Since 2015 the team has spent modestly but produced two first-place finishes in the Eastern Conference while setting statistical benchmarks with lesser star players such as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan. That philosophy is expected to continue with additional homegrown players.

Wright-Phillips, the team’s career-leading goalscorer, is the team’s highest-paid player at $1.6 million a year in guaranteed compensation. That is less than half of what NYCFC pays David Villa who earns $5.6 million. Wright-Phillips is the only player on the team guaranteed $1 million or more while Kljestan, the captain and 2016 assist leader, is second at nearly $800,000 in guaranteed compensation.

International players are also among the top earners, though their contributions have been largely insignificant. Fredrik Gulbrandsen is paid just under $400,000, while domestic players like Aaron Long and Alex Muyl earn less than $100,000. Gonzalo Verón is guaranteed $500,000 despite a history of injuries that have limited his playing time.

McCarty Returns to Red Bull Arena

Dax McCarty is returning to Red Bull Arena on Saturday with his new team, the Chicago Fire, for what should be an emotional night. The Red Bulls’ former captain was traded in the off-season while away on international duty. The departure didn’t sit well with the MLS veteran and some fans, but he has since become a integral part of a dangerous Chicago (3-2-2, 11 points) side that is two points behind the Red Bulls (4-3-1, 13) in the standings with a game in hand. McCarty said he is excited about the match, commenting on Twitter with a focus on the fans who supported him beginning in 2011:

Fans in the club’s three supporters’ group will be unable to do more than cheer for McCarty and their team because of a ban on banners and smoke bombs.

NYRB II Surrenders Late Goal in Rochester

New York Red Bulls II continued its rivalry against Rochester last Saturday but couldn’t grab its first win against the Rhinos.

A late goal by Joe Farrell had the teams each earn a point in the 2-2 draw. Rochester has lacked the defensive solidarity from previous seasons and New York is still looking for the right forward combinations with Florian Valot and Brandon Allen interchanging at the top of a 4-3-3 formation. Still, the team has been strong, grabbing points in two straight games and showing progress with a very young team.

Reinforcements are on the way for New York with the signing of the Honduras international Douglas Martínez on loan from CD Vida. He could play in place of Allen who may be featured on the bench for the MLS side in coming weeks. Martínez trained with the Red Bulls last October but was not signed.