|photo by Matt Kremkau
For the last three seasons, there has been a huge question mark for the New York Red Bulls once the Bradley Wright-Phillips era came to an end in 2019. The hope was both Brian White & Tom Barlow would be the anointed ones to move forward and become that terrible tandem to begin the new age of goal-scoring terror, but at this point in time it fizzled out very quickly.
White was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps, while Barlow has remained with the club coming off as a substitute with an occasional start here and there. These last two seasons the Red Bulls brought in some talent through transfers, loans, and call-ups from their two team to try and add some spark to the position.
Patryk Klimala was transferred over from Celtic FC in Scotland as the Polish Youth International was given a Designated Player contract to be the new face on the score sheet and deliver some big moments as well as Fabio who came over on loan from his club in Brazil.
Unfortunately, the sparks were flying from the midfield as Lewis Morgan, Luquinhas, and others have been putting the ball into the back of the net frequently and it's been a problem when they are on a goalless drought throughout the second half of the season.
If not for the penalty spot, the goal totals for the strikers would be a lot less disheartening. But it's still a big concern when you have a grand total of 25 goals in league play and 29 in all competitions, compared to the seven seasons of BWP scoring 108 League goals and 126 in all competitions. In reality that's not good enough for the strikers who are supposed to be the ones to slam the ball into the back of the net consistently.
Gone are the days of Giovanni Savarese, Clint Mathis, Jozy Altidore, Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper, and so on. The big question is who needs to step up and who can they bring over to break through to score more than 10 goals a season. We might have a chance with these new players who are already here and one who was just brought over from a rival.
Youth once again has been served as the Red Bulls brought up from within their academy the North Plainfield, NJ native Serge Ngoma who announced himself to the league by making two huge goals with a match-winner against Atlanta United and a brilliant opener on the road at Austin FC, until a pulled hamstring ended his season, unfortunately. But what we have seen from him in such a short period of time makes me believe he can improve his play
The player they brought over on loan from Brazilian club Gremio is Elias Manoel who has officially become a member of the club from a tweet by Gustavo Guimaraes of Territorio MLS as the transfer fee was $1 Million Dollars scoring two goals in the final regular season match against Charlotte FC. His savviness on the pitch proved he can be relied on with or without the ball to earn a scoring chance.
But the big move that came in through free agency was the former Philadelphia Union and current Jamaica International striker in Cory Burke who signed a two-year deal and with a club option for 2025. Started 38 times out of 93 games and scored 25 goals in his five seasons with the current Eastern Conference Champions and MLS Cup Finalist.
"We are very happy to have Cory join our club," said Head of Sport Jochen Schneider. "he is a strong striker that has a lot of experience in MLS and knows our playing style very well and we are looking forward to having him with us."
So what are the plans for the Red Bulls moving forward toward the beginning of the new season in 2023? Will they keep all five strikers on the main roster? will Serge Ngoma return to the two team for minutes in the new MLS Next Pro League? or will there be a trade involving Tom Barlow?
Will they continue with Klimala or find a club to trade or transfer out? Many questions at this moment with no answers at the present time but at the end of the day, the Red Bulls Striker goal-scoring department needs to be improved and in a hurry.