New York Red Bulls starting goalkeeper David Jensen is not a name that most were familiar with weeks before the opening kickoff back in March but he's quickly become a favorite among teammates and fans. The dynamic Danish keeper has made his skills known and dramatically kept the game level against Atlanta to earn the team's first win of the MLS is Back tournament.
"I'm super hungry ," said Jensen when asked about adjusting the the unique situation of the 2020 MLS season. "It's a new team, it's a nice way to play football and I'm just hungry. That motivates me."
That motivation was a key part to gaining the starting position. Initially, many thought that the starting job would go to Ryan Meara, the perennial back-up goalkeeper for New York who has watched relative unknowns usurp his position in the past. At first it was Luis Robles in 2012 who grabbed the starting job and now Jensen in 2020. Both times Meara's situation was clouded due to injury which opened the door for alternatives. While nothing is set in stone, Jensen appears to have the starting spot as long as he continues to play well.
The system in general appears to also fit into the Danish keeper's strengths. Describing himself as a sweeper at times, Jensen plays aggressively and with little fear. That trait is something that the young Red Bulls team of 2020 has shown quite often through their first three games.
"We like to make pressure high on the pitch," said Jensen. "It allows me to go a little higher on the pitch, which I'm pretty comfortable with. I'm the type of goalie that likes to be aggressive in the box and to break through with the ball behind the defense. That suits me well."
Winning also suits New York well and they've won two of their first three games overall in 2020. Despite having a young, unproven team, head coach Chris Armas' mantra of how close the group is continues to show through the players. Jensen's comfort level despite barely being around the team is proof of that and proof that the team is moving in the right direction. Whether this leads to championships remains to be seen. However, few predicted that the team would be so successful early on in the campaign.
"He joined our team and he understood that he was coming to a team he would have opportunity," said Armas on Jensen as a starter. "In football, and life, it's about opportunity and he got his early on when we needed him to hop on. Ryan Meara took a little soft tissue injury at the end of preseason and David steps in for Ryan and the team has gotten some nice results."
Jensen will more than likely have another chance to show that he should remain the starter as New York plays a late game on Thursday night against the Columbus Crew. Both teams earned wins in their first tournament game and are gearing up for a clash as two of the more dynamic offenses in the league.