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IN FOCUS: A look at the returning Red Bulls II players | Dan Metzger

 
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Red Bulls Academy product and New York Red Bulls II player Dan Metzger
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On October 29, New York Red Bulls II announced that the club exercised the options of five players for the 2016 USL season: Stefano Bonomo, Devon Williams, Dan Metzger, Konrad Plewa and Rafael Diaz. In this final installation, we’ll examine Dan Metzger and his 2015 season.

Dan Metzger signed with New York Red Bulls II on March 27, 2015 and is a former Red Bulls Academy player who’s been associated with the club since 2010. During that time, he was a member of the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team and U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-16 National Starting XI for the 2009-10 season, an ESPN High School All-American, All-County, All-State, and NSCAA All-Region player. As a young player, he came up through the New Jersey Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program.

The 22-year old joined the team after playing his college soccer at Maryland. He played four years for the Terps and was named team captain, All-Big Ten First team pick, MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, and First Team All-ACC Championship All-Tournament Team. By the end of his college career, he played in 88 matches and tallied eight goals and four assists.

Metzger entered the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and was selected by D.C. United, but was released prior to the season. He began training with Red Bulls II in preseason and signed on for the club’s inaugural USL season.

On the very same day he was announced as a Red Bulls II player, Metzger earned his first cap for the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He remained a consistent option for head coach Andi Herzog, and made his first start on May 27 against France in the Toulon Tournament. He made three starts in the tournament and helped the U.S. to a third place finish. In total, Metzger played in seven matches, made four starts and saw 352 minutes on the pitch for the U.S. U-23s in 2015.

The midfielder played his first USL game on April 4 against Toronto FC II in NYRB II’s first ever victory, 4-1, and made his first start the following weekend. On May 3, Metzger earned USL Team of the Week recognition for a strong 90 minute performance against Pittsburgh Riverhounds, a game NYRB II won on a 94th minute goal by Anthony Wallace.

On June 20 in a road game against Louisville City FC, Metzger played his best game of the USL season. He maintained a high-work rate in midfield, defended well, forced turnovers and effectively transitioned New York into attack throughout the match. Metzger was a key contributor in the game, helping Red Bulls II shutout Louisville, one of the top teams in the conference, and was named USL Player of the Week. In the following match, he earned New York’s game-winning assist, his first helper of the season, in a road victory against Saint Louis FC, 4-1.

Metzger earned his First Team debut on July 22 against Chelsea FC in the International Champions Cup. He entered the match as a halftime substitute as New York scored four goals in the second half. The Red Bulls allowed just one goal in the second half and defeated the 2014-15 English Premier League champions, 4-2.

Unfortunately, Metzger tore his ACL which effectively ended his 2015 season. He underwent surgery in late July and has been progressing well in his recovery. The midfielder totaled 12 games played and 11 starts for Red Bulls II, with more than 1000 minutes played. 

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