Michael Amir Murillo Preseason 2019
Andrew Vazzano

Preseason Work Continues with 'End Goal' in Mind

The New York Red Bulls continued their preseason preparation with a scrimmage, as every game situation helps the team get better, according to Head Coach Chris Armas. 

"It's always fun to get on the big field and see so many of the new guys, how they look and how they fit into our team and our philosophy," Armas said. "It just always gives us so much information."

New York played the Philadelphia Union and saw goals from Alex Muyl and Amro Tarek, as each "Starting XI" played 45 minutes for the Red Bulls.

Among the standouts, Armas called out recently-signed Red Bulls Academy product Omir Fernandez, as well as SuperDraft picks Janos Loebe and Sean Nealis, who started the first half alongside Tim Parker and Michael Amir Murillo on defense.

"There are some things that we definitely can look at in the video and improve upon," Captain Luis Robles said. "There are also some bright spots for the left side of our defense, to be drafted players -- rookies -- coming into a new system with high expectations, I felt like they held up. There's a lot of positives there. I told them after the game, just continue to improve this attitude of taking in and whatever the coaches asked you to tactically but also have that drive to improve."

Putting together the teams that will play together is always a challenge, as the coaches and staff look to balance many different factors heading into a scrimmage.

"We try to balance out a bunch of different things: getting the preparation right for Champions League, managing minutes, getting certain relationships together on the field and partnerships," Armas said. "Some of its performance-based, and who's performed well in preseason. We try to factor all those things together and then we have our starting lineups."

All those considerations are all with an eye on the first competitive matches of the year, Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 games against Atletico Pantoja 

"We have an end goal in mind with Champions League on February 20 and 27," Armas said. "With each game, again, minutes and fitness, sharpness and [getting] closer to what we want to look like."

Each training session and scrimmage move the team one step closer.

"I think the most important thing to remember is it is preseason as part of preparation," Robles said. "We still have a long way till we get to our best, but we're we're heading the right direction."

Overall, the scrimmage was successful, as this team continues to look more and more like the New York Red Bulls.

"Productive day. Really good performances, some individual performances, and in a lot of stretches, we look like us." Armas said. "We feel pretty good."