New York Red Bulls entered the MLS is Back tournament with a successful 1-0 win over a depleted Atlanta United on Saturday, proving how dynamic the duo of Kaku and Florian Valot can be on the field. The French winger has missed a significant period over the last two years with knee injuries but appears poised to show what the team has been missing in his absence.
"When you have another playmaker you play with two 10's," said head coach Chris Armas about the link up between Kaku and Valot. "It takes the pressure off Kaku and we see how long it takes a couple of players to get on the same page. These guys can get on the same page pretty quickly."
It took only four minutes to produced the games only goal. A passing sequence from the back found the foot of Kaku who instantly sent an effort across the field towards Valot. The Frenchman was already streaking past the defense as the ball reached his feet and the winger finished the chance for the game-winner. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan had no chance.
That link-up was essential as Kaku will be relied upon to be the most important player on the team. Valot could be the second if their chemistry continues to grow. Much of the offense will flow through the dynamic Paraguayan midfielder but having players like Valot who can be relied upon to convert that creativity has been something the Red Bulls have missed over the past year.
"I think it was important to score early and reward the team for the first 5-10 minutes," said Valot about his goal. "Obviously it's really rewarding for myself after what I've been through for the last two years but its' full credit for the team and I'm really happy we got the win today."
New York will take this momentum into their next game against the Columbus Crew on Thursday evening. It is a late kickoff of 10:30pm on FS1.