HANOVER, N.J. – Like Rodney Dangerfield, despite starting the 2018 season well, the New York Red Bulls simply get no respect from the fans.
Consider this: No Red Bulls players were voted in by the fans to the Fan XI for the upcoming 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Ultimately, three Red Bulls players -- Bradley Wright-Phillips, Michael Amir Murillo and Aaron Long -- were selected by All-Star Game head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino for inclusion in the squad. But with the Red Bulls in second place in the Eastern Conference and New York beating All-Star Game host Atlanta United 3-1 in late May, on the surface the lack of recognition may seem suspect.
Of course, Atlanta have six in the Fan XI -- largely reflecting the fact that the city is hosting and Atlanta have a rabid fanbase, to say nothing of the quality of that team this season, something Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch had a quip about.
“I think six guys got voted by the fans, right, from Atlanta? It’s a little surprising it wasn’t all 11,” Marsch said last week, laughing a bit about the fan vote.
“That has to do more with the amount of ballots that get put in by fans at the stadium and at home when there is high attention to that team in the league. Whatever, man. It’s always a fun, fun event and our guys enjoy participating in it over the years and I’m sure they will again.”
Noting his amazement that three Red Bulls players were actually selected to the game – “we hardly ever get one” – Robles was excited that Martino and MLS Commissioner Don Garber did end up recognizing several of his teammates.
“I know that even a guy like Brad to be named an All-Star, it’s his second maybe or third time," he said. "He sets such a great example, even though he is named an All-Star it is about winning games, about helping his team continue to get better. If that means he has to score, if that means he has to set guys up, if that means he has to keep guys accountable, he’s such a great leader.”
Marsch noted that in the midst of a strong season, “there are a lot of other guys that could easily have been named as well.” Other potential Red Bulls All-Star candidates include left back Kemar Lawrence, defender Tim Parker and midfielder Tyler Adams.
“We’ve had a good start to this season,” Marsch said.
“Previous years we haven’t started quite as well so then, you know, I don’t think we get acknowledged for as many good performances. Very happy for those three.”