Red Bulls' Cahill still adjusting after first month in MLS

Tim Cahill celebrates his goal vs. Portland

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Tim Cahill may not have struggled in his first month with the New York Red Bulls, but that doesn't mean he has fully adapted to his new team or the league he now calls home.

Not yet, anyway.

Since making the move from Everton to the Red Bulls in late July, Cahill has played in five league matches with New York and he has found ways to make an impact. He scored a crucial goal that allowed the Red Bulls to rally against the Portland Timbers on Aug. 19, and also helped set up both goals in New York’s 2-0 win over Houston on  Aug. 10.

Cahill’s contributions in August weren't bad considering he is a player still finding his feet after arriving in preseason form, and he's still trying to get into a rhythm with his new teammates. But he acknowledges there is room to grow for both himself and the club.

“I’m learning every game and as the games go along, I know this team is growing and we’re starting to believe in confidence,” he said. “We’ve come back three times in a row. Now, it’s how we finish off teams, it’s how we can kick on and not make mistakes collectively.”

Cahill’s leadership qualities are part of the reason New York brought the Australian international over as they continue to search for an MLS Cup, but neither that nor the abilities he’s shown on the field in his first month with the Red Bulls have surprised his new teammates.

“You can see he’s physical but fair,” Heny told reporters last week. “I think the referees are getting him wrong sometimes because they are not used to the physicality of the Premiership, the way he jumps and everything. But he’s a fair player, he can bring a lot of stuff to us.”

That does not necessarily just mean scoring goals and getting assists, either.

“It’s more about [being] a competitor,” said Henry. “He’s a competitor and he can help everybody going forward, and I think that’s the most important thing, and he’s bringing another dimension to this team. We can play long, he can hold the ball and stuff like that, so I think that can be great for us.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.