Alex Muyl action looking at ball
USA Today Sports

Red Bulls' Alex Muyl brings Lower East Side perspective to New York rivalry

HARRISON, N.J.—In the 73rd minute of the New York Red Bulls' 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, Alex Muyl came on as a substitute for the injured Mike Grella.

Muyl proceeded to run like the guy in pickup basketball who wants to make sure there’s a functioning motion offense in a chaotic setting. He ran into empty space by the touchline. He ran to the other side of the field to help out. He ran up the right flank, putting a move on a defender.

In truth, the 20-year-old’s running is a lot less complicated than his commuting. And thankfully, his commute has grown less complicated over the years.

To get to training as a member of the Red Bulls Academy while in high school, Muyl would take the subway to the PATH train to New Jersey Transit's rail system. Now he catches rides with Dax McCarty from the city or takes the PATH train to Hoboken, where he links up with Felipe.

“It’s weird being a rookie and with these guys who are captains, giving me rides,” Muyl said.

Like many city kids, he just got his driver's license, well after high school, and is in the process of learning how to drive.

Then again, there isn’t much about Muyl that doesn’t scream Lower East Side: He attended Tompkins Square Middle School (6th Street and Avenue B) and Bard High School (far east on Houston Street) for advanced students, played small-sided games with friends in the streets and nearby parks and still goes to comedy shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Muyl, who has come on as a substitute in six of his seven appearances this year, is RBNY's 13th Homegrown Player, but the first from New York City.

After leading the Red Bulls' U-16 and U-18 teams in scoring, he enjoyed three strong seasons at Georgetown University, where he and his teammates kept tabs on MLS, especially as it related to their futures.

Muyl admits that a number of his soccer-loving friends have caught New York City FC fever, due to the club’s location in New York City proper, and have bought season tickets. Yet there are also those who have remained loyal to him after he signed a professional contract with the Red Bulls, and Muyl expects most players in the Red Bulls' youth system to stay put.

“They thought that kids like me who played at Red Bull were suddenly going to go to NYCFC’s academy, but I don’t think it ever really happened,” Muyl said. “I think most of the people who stay in the city stayed with New York Red Bulls because they obviously have a very good academy, and you can see that players are developed to the first team.”

Muyl watched closely last year as the Red Bulls chased the Supporters' Shield, beating their new neighbors all three times by a combined score of 7-2. There was even a little bit of New York City serendipity then as well: A teammate on the Manhattan Kickers (Muyl’s first club team) and at the Red Bulls Academy, Matt Miazga, blossomed into a star defender.

Saturday’s derby will feature designated players with international backgrounds like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Bradley Wright-Phillips. There will be players with Tri-State regional backgrounds like Thomas McNamara of West Nyack, New York, Mike Grella from Glen Cove, New York and Connor Lade of Morristown, New Jersey.

And maybe, if he comes on as a substitute, a homegrown lifer from the Lower East Side.

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