HANOVER, N.J. – In Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, the New York Red Bulls can look and see a player who is very much a fit for their brand of soccer. This Saturday at Red Bull Arena (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE) they will get an up-close look at the United States national team midfielder, who will get his first taste of this I-95 rivalry.
Bedoya’s signing by the Union was one of the biggest signings of MLS this summer, the influential and versatile national team midfielder coming to the league in his prime. In Bedoya, the Union got a player with international experience who has played in some of Europe’s best leagues. But he also brings a tremendous work rate and savvy, both on and off the ball.
Plus, there is his shooting ability, as evidenced by his goal this past weekend, his first since joining MLS.
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch knows Bedoya well from his time as an assistant coach with the national team under Bob Bradley.
“He’s a great guy, a good young man. He works hard, always works hard for the team and the group and I think he has been a great addition there. Soccer-wise he brings a lot, his work-rate is fantastic and he certainly has qualities. Showed that last week when he scored a great goal against Toronto,” Marsch said Friday after training.
“We know that keeping track of him, whether he is playing deeper in the midfield or as a No. 10 role will be really important.”
After several solid starts in this summer’s Copa America Centenario, Bedoya has been a hot commodity. He showed his ease on the international level as well as overall versatility. He has played just about every midfield position for the national team as well as once being trotted out as a right back.
The Red Bulls didn’t pursue Bedoya when he became available this summer, knowing that they were too far down the allocation order. But his skill set is reminiscent of the Red Bulls' big midfielders, such as Sacha Kljestan and Felipe, in that he is good on the ball and combines that with a good engine.
There was no surprise in Marsch’s eyes that Bedoya would leave the French league to come to MLS. It is a move he applauds as MLS continues to develop and grow.
"It’s always a personal decision for guys [whether to return to MLS from Europe]. He was established at Nantes, Orebro and Rangers, different clubs there. We were always watching when he was with the national team,” Marsch said. “I always like when guys are ambitious to go over there and try to prove themselves. But then it gets to the point that guys feel like the opportunity to come back and play in MLS – the fact that the league has grown so much – the timing is just right. For him to come back, still in his prime, and go to a big club like Philadelphia, is a big move, but I think the right move.
“Coming to the league as this point, it’s a chance for him to show all the ways he’s established himself overseas and helps this league grow and then continue to prove himself so that he can continue to be on the national team.”