|photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein
On Saturday, March 25th, you saw a local kid who was drafted and grew up within the academy of the New York Red Bulls show you what he is made of. He showed everyone what it means to be a Captain of the club and showed all of us how he takes that armband seriously.
Not only has he grown into being a solid center-back for the club, but he also showed why his teammates and the coaching staff trust him to lead the club every 90 minutes either at Red Bull Arena or on the road. What we saw on the pitch at Charlotte FC was a testament to how he handled certain issues that went against his side when it came to fouls that should've been converted into ejections.
When Omir Fernandez took a studs challenge into his right leg from Brandt Bronico, you saw Sean Nealis work the referee to ask him why there wasn't a card of any kind, while he was having a check with VAR. Then he got more animated when Cameron Harper got fouled hard into his head when Derrick Jones led with an elbow, that's where the Captain showed his displeasure and made sure that he told the ref he should've shown the red card and not the yellow.
Sean Nealis also showed some toughness on the pitch when he was a part of the defensive wall being set up in front of his net. When the ball was shot at him he took it right in the face. Even though he was down for a couple of minutes, he was able to get back up and went through concussion protocol to make sure he was alright. He was able to get up without an issue and finished the match.
After the one-goal draw, Sean Nealis talked to the media about the match at Charlotte FC. " Yeah, I feel good. Just got hit in the head. I feel fine." Said Sean Neails, "Yeah, I think the first half we kind of had them where we wanted them. We had a few chances there. Elias scored a good goal with this pressing the second half, we had a couple chances to kind of get that second goal. Unfortunately, couldn't get it but I think we got to learn from this and be stronger defensively all the way through. For the goal, I missed the header that could have done better there. We all could have done better stepped up and we're kind of disappointed and only getting one point here."
I believe Gerhard Struber and the players made the right choice in choosing Sean Nealis to become the new captain of the club when Aaron Long moved on to LAFC. It feels really good to see a homegrown player and a local kid from Long Island gets this big chance to lead this club into battle for 90 minutes each and every match.