|photo by Matt Kremkau
The New York Red Bulls are having a great season so far. Currently in third place in the east and getting ready for a huge US Open Cup Semi-Final match within a week and a half, this side has looked strong & solid during this season, and so far head coach Gerhard Struber has pushed the right buttons with this young group moving forward.
But sadly there is one glaring issue that continues to plague this club since the departure of club legend Bradley Wright-Phillips, and that is the strikers in the goal-scoring department. If this discussion has been discussed at nausium, then guess what folks, we are going to discuss it again, because what we are seeing from the current strikers is not good enough after a loss to your Hudson River Rivals in front of a sold-out Red Bull Arena crowd.
So far this season, the top goalscorers are Scotsman Lewis Morgan & Brazilian Luquinhas. Both men have been exceptional since they were brought to the club from their previous spots. Both men have scored some fabulous goals and if neither of them is putting the ball into the back of the net or not forcing the issue on the pitch, then this club will not go anywhere or be able to move forward.
Ashley Morgan became a waste of a loan spell, Patryk Klimala has only scored 12 goals in his current two seasons with the Red Bulls, 13 in all competitions, while Tom Barlow has scored 10 goals and 13 in all competitions with the Red Bulls since he was drafted and brought up from Red Bulls 2 in USL Championship back in 2019.
While Serge Ngoma has a lot of promise to his game, you can't expect a 16-year-old to put the club on his back and create the goal-scoring production you should be expecting from a veteran. The failure to get a proven goal scorer has been a sore spot for this club and it's been going on since BWP's contract expired and the club pushed him out the door.
What has been the solution? at the moment it's nothing. So far sporting director Denis Hamlet & former Director of Sport Kevin Thelwerll have failed in bringing in a veteran goal scorer during the transfer windows and especially this season when everything is going right for the club, a match like that where you saw the home side dominate, but still can't convert against your local rivals, is the biggest sore spot they can show.
So many times I have read the message boards of all the different Facebook Groups or Red Bulls Twitter about how they need a Designated Player Striker, or bring in a big named star to come and play for the Red Bulls, when in fact all this club needs is a competent striker who has the mentality to be prolific enough to bury the ball into the back of the net consistently, it could be just as easy as an MLS Veteran to do the job as well.
But right now we are currently within the MLS Summer Transfer Window and at the moment the only transfers we are seeing are players leaving the club. Jason Pendant, Lucas Monzon, and a few more have said goodbye, meanwhile the club has brought back Hassan Ndam. signed him to a Red Bulls 2 contract, and Matthew Nocita who is ready to leave the Naval Academy to pursue his dreams of being a professional soccer player is all the noise we have heard coming to the club.
This is the time for the new Director of Sport Jochen Schnieder, to start stepping up and make a big move to acquire a competent veteran striker to come over and be that final moment to torch the net and push the Red Bulls to victory. I understand Schneider just got here, but he needs to speed up the process and get his feet on the ground running, or else there could be a long losing streak that could cost this season.
From 2014 thru 2018 Bradley Wright-Phillips scored over 100 goals in league play and over 110 goals in all competitions from the MLS Cup Playoffs, US Open Cup & CONCACAF Champions League, right now none of these current strikers on this club can touch what BWP has done & that is the biggest piece that is missing for the Red Bulls moving forward since 2020.
Something needs to change and needs to change in a hurry, as of right now they are on a path to make a push to win the US Open Cup and it could b possible that Orlando City may have found a way with a transfer of a striker in Nicholas Gioaacchini and depending on when he arrives for them, it could affect their chance to get to the final.
It's time to put up or shut up and the Red Bulls can't have another defeating result mixed in with a solid performance like they had this past home match, they need to get this situation fixed and in a hurry, before it's too late and they are knocked out of a playoff spot, or not reaching the Open Cup Final.