The New York Red Bulls and head coach Jesse Marsch rely on certain elements of the game to play the way that they want, including stamina and quick movement. One player who is fast becoming both successful and exemplary within this system is midfielder Alex Muyl.
Hard Work Beginning to Bear Fruit for Alex Muyl and New York Red Bulls
Now with two consecutive victories for the club featuring a goal from the 21-year-old academy product, Muyl is appearing more and more comfortable with his role. Thanks to his positioning and movement, the New York native opened the scoring in his side’s 2-0 home win over Columbus this past weekend off an excellent pass from left-back Kemar Lawrence.
Muyl’s first MLS season saw the initial steps that have seen recent contributions become a regular sight. The rookie scored his first league goal in the 7-0 thrashing of New York City FC last May, and began to make an impact for Marsch with his constant pressing and strong defensive instincts higher up the field.
The Red Bulls’ coaching staff seemed intent on establishing a 4-2-2-2 formation this season, and this choice certainly presented a unique situation for Muyl and his particular skill set. While the formation is still used from time to time (and especially may return as Gonzalo Veron works his way back to full fitness), Marsch has returned to the 4-2-3-1 shape that has brought the team so much success during his tenure as manager in Harrison.
With that philosophy in mind, the strengths that Alex Muyl possesses can become important as New York once again fights for a top spot in the MLS Eastern Conference this season.
One aspect of the game that Muyl brings as good or better than most of his teammates is his incredible stamina for 90 minutes. Late in the match, this characteristic can be the difference between success and failure.
Jesse Marsch’s system is not easy on the squad, requiring a major commitment to chasing both the opposition and the ball at times.
But with Muyl’s seemingly endless motor, crucial goals may start to pile up for the homegrown talent in 2017.
High-press & high-reward
New York’s high-press system, seen throughout several of the Red Bull-owned clubs throughout the globe, focuses on gaining possession quickly and immediately driving for the opposing goal. Muyl’s defensive capabilities become an asset within Marsch’s line-up with this approach.
The midfielder has shown that he can keep pace with some of the league’s best, and has shown great potential further up the field as a winger.
Flexibility and determination have been hallmarks of Muyl’s success thus far, and that trend will undoubtedly continue moving forward.
Muyl is not without competition in New York’s formation, with the likes of Sean Davis, Derrick Etienne and Mike Grella all able to produce in the position. But if he does not start, his influence in the second half can be a tremendous weapon thanks to his hard-running style.
A late substitution could see Muyl’s pressing and positioning wreak havoc on the tired legs of an opponent, and can bring the Red Bulls critical points as the campaign continues.
His first year displayed potential. And after all of his hard work, 2017 is beginning to feel like a breakout season for Alex Muyl in Major League Soccer.