Training Feb. 7

RBNY Training Report – Thursday, February 7, 2019

Following Thursday’s training at Red Bulls Training Facility in Whippany, New Jersey, head coach Chris Armas, Luis Robles, Tim Parker and Omir Fernandez spoke with the media before heading to Tucson, Arizona for their second preseason camp.

Audio of the full interviews is attached, with select quotes, team news and notes below.

News and Notes

• The Red Bulls are scheduled for five preseason matches while in Tucson but will depart for their Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 match prior to their final match in Arizona.

• New York is set to play their SCCL Leg 1 against Atletico Pantoja on February 20 at Felix Sanchez Stadium with kickoff set for 8 p.m. Leg 2 is set for 8 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Red Bull Arena.

• The Red Bulls wrapped up Florida preseason camp with exhibition matches against IF Elfsborg, Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC.

Chris Armas
On the approach for Arizona camp leading into SCCL play…

“We finished last camp at 60 minutes for some guys so if we can start pushing those minutes to 75 and closer to 90, I think that’s a goal of ours. I think getting Aaron Long back in the group is going to be a big part of it and then piecing other players in there now that really close to full fitness and form. Flo (Florian) Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, Kemar Lawrence, for sure. So, you start getting your back line intact and you start getting other attacking pieces intact and now that’s a big part of our goal in Arizona..”

What potential player could take the next step like Florian Valot did last year…

“It’s a good question. I think that we can expect to start getting some minutes for Flo (Florian Valot) and almost like another coming out party for him. Same with Vincent Bezecourt. I think we got glimpses of him in the past and now he’s another guy that gives you something different. Amro Tarek on the back line, gives you some flexibility if you need to, maybe, lock it down with five players at the back. There’re different options that I feel like we really do have options, Amir (Michael Amir Murillo) is looking great at right back, but Kyle Duncan give you something as well. Hard to say, I’m not predicting who might get those minutes and opportunity in those games because we have a lot of good options.”

Luis Robles
How was the Florida trip and did you see any improvements from the guys and some of the new guys that have filtered in …

“Well, Florida was windy and cold. Disappointing we didn’t get enough sunshine and warm day, but I can’t complain because you guys had what seven degrees or zero degrees or something. Florida was good. Obviously there are some new guys, some new faces and there’s a lot that they need to learn, but what some of the older guys have conveyed to them is  it’s a process and keep your mind open. Be coachable because there isn’t a college program out there that prepares them for the way that we play and yet the way that we play has allowed us to be very successful over the years. So if they just put their trust in the coaching staff and continue to improve each and every day on the tactics, it’ll take time, but it’ll come and it puts them in the best position personally to succeed.”

How exciting is it to get back into the Champions League and trying to make a run …

“I love these games. It’s an opportunity for us to measure up against other parts of our region. Last year, we went on a nice little run, we lost to the eventual champions, which just kind of bitter. You know, we lost in two semi-finals last year, we got close, we just weren’t able to find a solution to get through. But I’m hoping that we go on a similar run and a lot of the same faces are back and they understand now wht it’s like to go down to Mexico, what it’s like to go down to Costa Rica and other parts. It’s going to be a tough matchup. We don’t know much about this team and I’d imagine when we go to the Dominican Republic, they’re going to make sure it’s as difficult of a matchup as possible. But as I said, these games are great and it’s a great opportunity for us to not only play in other parts of this region, but get our season started a little earlier.”

Tim Parker
What have your early impressions been of Sean Nealis …

“He’s been good, he’s a fellow Long Islander, so I can’t really say a bad thing. Sean’s done well, he’s physically gifted, he’s athletic. That’s kind of what we look for in center backs here, so just getting him up to speed on what we like to do, how the center backs here play here is kind of unlike anywhere else. It’s something out of his comfort zone, but he’s done well so far.”

Being a veteran on this team, have you taken him under your wing a little bit …

“Yeah, try to talk to him as much as I can, just about little things that I can pick up when I’m watching him more than when we’re playing together because it’s quite hard to spectate while doing that. I think getting guys in that are young and athletic like that, they can kind of buy into the speed of how we want to play but also how we want to play is difficult. So I think just getting them into that was there was tough.”

Omir Fernandez
Being in camp with the first team and what it’s been like for you …

“It’s amazing, in short terms to simplify it, the level is great. Playing for one of the best MLS clubs. The players, encourage you to try and be your best, even though I’m a young guy, I have the confidence because of these great payers believing in me. It’s a great experience.”

What is the feeling like to be the next player coming from the academy …

“It’s exciting. To be at a place where they give their young guys a chance, they don’t just talk it but they do it. Where they say homegrown, your minutes start in the academy and it’s all true. It’s exciting to see that the hard work and the time and dedication that was put in, paid off in the end. It’s just getting started.”

Chris Armas (Armas_0208.mp3)

• What has the preseason has been like leading up to the final stretch before Champions League? (0:17 – 0:36)
• Omir Fernandez seems to have that maturity and appreciation for signing with the Red Bulls First team because he came up through the academy system. (1:12 – 1:52)
• Does it feel good to have another guy from the Bronx at the club? (2:02 – 2:24)
• What are you looking to get from Arizona? (2:40 – 3:21)
• What did you see from Aaron Long in those national team two matches? (3:36 – 4:34)
• Is there a player or two this year that you’re thinking maybe could make that next step? (4:57 – 5:52)
• What are your early impressions of Sean Nealis and Tim Parker taking him under his wing? (6:15 – 7:05)
• Can you give an update on Anatole Abang? (7:10 – 7:29)
• Is your hope that he can rejoin the team at some point this year? (7:35 – 7:43)
• Are you expecting some roster rotation throughout the season? (7:58 – 8:46)
• There is a report of an 18 year old Danish signing here, is there anything you can talk about in terms of that? (9:00 – 9:21)
• Any updates on Ryan Meara? (9:27 – 9:35)
• Nothing else injury wise? (9:37 – 9:51)
• Any trialists coming into Arizona? (9:59 – 10:15)

Luis Robles (Robles_0208.mp3)

• How was the Florida trip and did you see any improvements from the guys and some of the new guys? (0:15 – 1:06)
• With Aaron Long at the National team camp, Sean Nealis has gotten more looks in the preseason. What have you thought about him so far? (1:23 – 2:19)
• Heading back to your home state, what does it mean for you when your parents get to see you for a couple of days? (2:31 – 3:21)
• Omir Fernandez is another one of those guys who’ve come through the system. Over the short period of time that you’ve been with him, what have you thought of him? (3:37 – 4:58)
• Talking about Tyler Adams, have you watched the two games he’s played so far for RB Leipzig? (5:03 – 5:31)
• How exciting is it to get back into the Champions League and trying to make a run? (5:46 – 6:33)

Tim Parker (Parker_0208.mp3)

• How does it feel to be back after the Florida trip? (0:14 - 0:21)
• Aaron (Long) being with the National team for the January camp, was it different having someone new being next to you? (0:29 – 0:42)
• What have your early impressions been of Sean Nealis? (0:46 – 1:07)
• Being a veteran on this team, have you taken him under your wing a little bit? (1:18 – 1:42)
• Was there a guy when you first got drafted with the Caps that did something similar with you? (1:49 – 2:05)
• Coming from neighboring towns in Long Island, did you know of the Nealis family? (2:17 – 2:31)

Omir Fernandez (Fernandez_0208.mp3)

• What was it like being in camp with the first team? (0:25 – 0:41)
• What are you looking to learn from the veteran guys? (0:50 – 1:08)
• Did it make it easier coming into the first team preseason having been a part of the academy? (1:23 – 1:42)
• Were there guys that you knew here from being in the academy? (1:51 – 2:10)
• What is the feeling like to be the next player coming from the academy? (2:22 – 2:38)
• Is it a little intimidating seeing the names like Tyler Adams and Sean Davis that came before you? (2:50 – 3:12)
• Have you been to Red Bull Arena and seen a game? (3:20 – 3:42)
• What is it going to feel like to make your first team debut at Red Bull Arena in front of thousands of fans? (3:56 – 4:12)
• Has there been a guy that’s helped you through this preseason? (4:30 – 4:50)
• What did it feel like when you got that call that you had been signed? (5:08 – 5:43)
• Who was your first call or text? (5:45 – 5:56)