Red Bulls prefer hard-running rookie Muyl in XI over Gonzalo Veron, for now

HANOVER, N.J. – As things stand right now, the New York Red Bulls believe Alex Muyl is their best fit in wide midfield, as the Homegrown rookie has been a surprise starter in recent weeks over Designated PlayerGonzalo Veron.

With five starts over the last six matches, the 20-year-old is becoming a regular in the Red Bulls starting XI, and it might stay there as the Red Bulls prepare to host New York City FC on Sunday (1 pm ET; FOX in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada).

A creative player who can play out wide or up top, Veron joined the Red Bulls as a Designated Player from Argentinian side San Lorenzo last August, paying a transfer fee reported to be around $2.2 million. He had a slow acclimation to MLS last year, coming off the bench in two of 13 appearances in 2015.

But after a strong preseason, hopes were high that Veron, 26, would finally settle into the league. Instead, injuries and a pedestrian run of form has seen him slip down the depth chart.

Since Lloyd Sam was traded to D.C. United on July 7, Muyl has made two of three starts on the right wing, likely at the expense of Veron.

“In certain games that require our pressing tactics to be intact, I think Alex provides the ability to cover ground and commit to that in a really good way,” head coach Jesse Marsch said on Thursday.

“There’s still the ability to use Gonzalo in some of these games for matchups, and to also look into using two strikers.

“They’re different, yet in some ways there are comparables there because they are somewhat positional,'' Marsch said. "But I look at it more how they fit into what we do tactically – a little bit different and they have different qualities, just trying to look at what matchups are and how to use each one effectively.”

While speedy and undoubtedly creative, Veron has struggled with his crossing and his duties in the team’s high press. In RBNY's last five matches, Veron has played a total of just 134 minutes and has just a single goal to his name in 403 minutes (five starts) this season. Muyl, meanwhile, has a goal and three assists in 609 minutes (six starts) to date this year. 

Muyl grew up in the Red Bulls academy and came to MLS with a strong college resume from Georgetown University. He’s very fit and aggressive in the high press, and while he lacks some of the technique of Veron, right now he might be a better fit for the Red Bulls. 

The Red Bulls aren’t ready to write off Veron quite yet, however. 

“The DP tag doesn’t mean anything. He’s a player on this team,'' Marsch said of Veron. "Just like everyone else, we want him to understand how to develop and contribute and understand how to be who we are. I think that this stretch, even though he hasn’t played [much]... today he was fantastic in training. He shows signs that things are coming together. The hope is that, yeah, eventually, he’ll get to the point where he can take it and run with it.

“He hasn’t quite gotten there yet but that doesn’t mean that we’re giving up on it. We still have a lot of faith that this’ll come around in due time. Again, it’s not about being a DP or not being a DP; it’s about being a member of this team.”