HARRISON, N.J. – Bradley Wright-Phillips got the goal, but Alex Muyl was every bit the reason why the New York Red Bulls emerged from 306460099" tabindex="0">Sunday’s rivalry match with the New England Revolution with a 1-0 win.
It was a match where the Red Bulls found only spurts of motivation in the final third, looking inconsistent in their movement. Yet it was the rookie Muyl who not only provided his usual high level work rate but also showed a comfort around goal for the first time as a rookie.
In the 55th minute, Muyl battled with Revolution defender Jose Goncalves, taking possession of the ball in the penalty area and firing a shot that was well blocked by a diving Brad Knighton. Wright-Phillips capitalized to fire in goal No. 16 of the season, but it was Muyl's extraordinary effort that kept the play alive to set up the goal.
Wright-Phillips termed the effort as one “that kind of sums up Muyl. He is full of endeavor and never gives up on a play.”
Muyl looked the most promising of the Red Bulls four attacking players during his 83 minutes on the field. Unlike in previous games, he was daring in taking on defenders and delivered repeated quality crosses into the penalty area.
For a player known for his grit and tenacity, this was a show of class and composure.
“I am known now as a player who is a workhorse and who is going to cover a lot of ground. I think that’s a big part of my game,” Muyl said. “I want to also show that I can deliver a final ball, score goals. I haven’t been able to do that to the level I know I can yet. I think it’s about slowing down and making these plays. I want to be a player who is known for the quality as well. I want to show that.”
Since solidifying his spot in the starting XI on 306460100" tabindex="0">July 13, a run of eight matches, the Red Bulls are 4-0-4 with Muyl in the starting lineup.
On Sunday, he started on the right wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, then, after Israeli international Omer Damari’s insertion in the second half, partnering up top with Wright-Phillips, Muyl moved to the left side of the 4-2-2-2 and there was no drop-off in his effort or form.
“I think Alex has done so many things to establish ourselves with our team and make us good. That’s we’ve been telling him: You do a million things in the game to make us good – the ground you cover, the way you compete, the battles you win in your part of the field. It’s amazing, it’s amazing,” head coach Jesse Marsch said.
“And we continue to challenge him to slow down in certain moments. When he is around the goal, in the attacking third, can he just have a little bit more poise and then put together a little bit more quality plays? I thought that was a step forward for him today.”