HANOVER, N.J. – The youth movement is here, and the benefits can been seen at both the USL and MLS levels.
Since it’s inception ahead of the 2015, New York Red Bulls II has provided an invaluable platform for rookies and Homegrowns to learn the system employed by the first team, while developing a skillset that directly translates at the highest level.
HOW AND WHERE TO WATCH #SJvNY:
Off to a flying start in 2016, the USL squad has picked up an impressive seven points from their first three matches. Boasting talent and depth throughout their roster, the benefit to the squad is twofold; as fringe MLS players have used their opportunities with NYRBII to play meaningful minutes in a professional environment, while staying sharp for an eventual call up to the first team.
Seeing minutes in two of their first three matches, Homegrown talent Alex Muyl has already reaped the rewards of this system.
Entering as an 85th minute substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, the Georgetown product replaced captain Dax McCarty as the Red Bulls tried desperately to find a goal to claw their way back into the match. Muyl was pleased to finally step onto the Red Bull Arena pitch for the first time in his MLS career.
“It was really exciting,” Muyl said. “You know that any time you’re on the bench, you can possibly have a role to play in the game. When my number was called I knew what I had to do.”
Given the nature of his entrance to the game, Muyl admitted that finding the match was a struggle. Still, the 20-year-old acknowledged the valuable lessons to be taken from his debut performance.
“It was definitely a hard game to come into,” he admitted. “It was very fast-paced and I don’t know if I even got comfortable in the game. But I think that little moments like that and building on it will be very important.”
Even in a losing effort, a professional debut is still a milestone achievement and one that his teammates lauded after the match.
“He’s a busy player,” defender Sal Zizzo said of Muyl. “He works hard, he’s around the ball a lot, and I thought he did well. I’m happy for him, I congratulated him after the game, so hopefully many more for him.”
A day later, Muyl went back to work, this time at the USL level. Returning to the Red Bull Arena pitch for the second time in as many days, Muyl continued to impress, notching an impressive goal in his side’s 4-0 romp over Bethlehem Steel FC.
With continued standout performances at both the USL and MLS levels, head coach Jesse Marsch admitted that Muyl may well be a player that will see more minutes as the season wears on.
“We like Alex,” Marsch said. “He has a grittiness about him, a competitiveness about him, and he’s got some quality. I thought he had a very good game [with NYRBII on Sunday night] and it was good to get him in the first team game, as well. I thought he made an impact when he went in, so he’s going to be a guy that I think will establish himself as a guy we can count on.”