|photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein
What we saw tonight was a player who has really grown up in front of our eyes. Ever since he was brought up from Red Bulls II John Tolkin, has been a sensation as the Left Fullback for the New York Red Bulls for these last several seasons. He continues to improve every single match that has earned him two call-ups to the US Men's National Team and participated in the MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal at Audi Field.
We all know his stock is rising and in this Leagues Cup match against Atletico de San Luis, he continues to show why his star is destined to shine the brightest. We can't forget his game-winning penalty against the New England Revolution in the last Leagues Cup match, but tonight he was involved in all three major moments of the match, both positively, and negatively.
He assisted twice helping Dante Vanzeir to convert both goals in the second half for a two goals to one win. He took the majority of the corners at both ends, but in the 56th minute, he was able to deliver a potent cross toward Vanzeir and headed the ball into a tight window inside the near post. There were at times some of those corners weren't taken well, but Tolkin made sure to put something special on that cross.
With the match leveled at one Tolkin earned his first lesson against any club from Liga MX down in Mexico. Never put yourself into a dangerous position inside your own area to give the opposition a chance at a penalty. He did so late in regulation. The ball was a few feet away from him and his marker, but when he flicked out his right boot and just touched the attacker, he went down in a heap, and the referee pointed to the spot.
But in some ways, Tolkin handed the spotlight to Carlos Coronel and it was a big save from the Brazilian diving to his right to stop the penalty, then Tolkin continued his good fortune attacking with the ball, as he sprung Vanzeir down the far side with a looping ball. Inside second-half stoppage time, Vanzeir smashed the ball inside the front post to give the Red Bulls the lead. But all of this was from the Chatham, New Jersey native as his stock has continued to rise.
"Yeah, it's a lot of repetition on the training pitch. I think it's a direct translation to the field." Said John Tolkin, "Yeah, big heads-up play from Carlos (Coronel). I guess you'd say you know, maybe most teams would get up in there and kind of wait till penalty kicks but, you know, he found me and I saw Dante (Vanezir) and he took off, and yeah, big time from him. Good finish."
Now with the victory over Atletico de San Luis, the Red Bulls will once again host New York City FC at Red Bull Arena on Thursday, August 3rd for another edition and the first in the Leagues Cup of the Hudson River Derby, and all of this is at the feet of John Tolkin who not only helped Vanzeir convert chances but might have to take out his keeper for some Fogo de Chao in Paramus as he got bailed out from his mistake.