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Reviewing the Leagues Cup Run

Photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

The New York Red Bulls had a good run in their Leagues Cup trip, scraping with the Revolution and winning in penalties, edging Atletic de San Luis, a single penalty goal victory over NYCFC & then a hard-fought match against the Union, but falling to them in penalties. What we saw ever since Troy Lesesne took over this club is a rejuvenated side that is looking much better than what their start showed this 2023 season. 

While there are still some issues with the club, there is no doubt that Lesesne has deserved to officially take over the club as their next head coach when we get to the 2024 season. His energy inside his technical area is refreshing, and he holds himself, and the players accountable for their performances in all the matches they play in, when he took over. 

We saw Dante Vanzeir getting more comfortable each and every game, including his two goals against San Luis when he ran in and flicked the ball off his head for his first goal, then got on his horse to allow the ball to lead him into a shooting position and ripped it hard. John Tolkin also had a marvelous game against San Luis assisting on both goals. 

The Red Bulls defense was also better, even though they only conceded twice losing concentration at home to San Luis, but were soundly beaten in Chester for the Union's equalizer, they really did play strong defensively. They showed why when they are on their game and playing hard, they are difficult to break down. 

But the one player who truly used this Leagues Cup to improve his game was goalkeeper Carlos Coronel. Without a doubt, he has resurrected his game since his multiple gaffs left his line to give free gifts to his opponents and allowed a goal for no reason. He has truly improved his game defending the net and made some big stops during the penalty shootout and, stopping San Luis from taking a lead late in the match. 

I'm happy the Red Bulls have shown improvement, but while the loss in the penalty shootout during the round of 16 match at Subaru Park was disappointing, the truth is there are some positives to take from this Leagues Cup run. It's a shame they couldn't face Mexican side Queretaro in the Quarterfinals, still, there are some positives you can take from this run. 

On a personal level, I'm glad this Leagues Cup tournament is over for the Red Bulls, while I know a CONCACAF Champions Cup place was up for grabs, this is still a tournament that doesn't move the needle for me interfering with the MLS regular season and Liga MX's Apertura Season. What I am waiting for is Hate DC week, and it's going to start this coming August 14th, when the match will be six days away. So let's get ready for the boys to take the full three points at home. 

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