NASHVILLE – While US national team defender Matt Miazga prepares to face Mexico on Tuesday in Nashville, he can’t help but marvel at what his former club, the New York Red Bulls, have been able to accomplish in MLS this season.
Miazga, who played on the backline for the Red Bulls between 2013 and 2015 and came up through the club’s academy, is hopeful that this is finally the year the Red Bulls get that coveted MLS Cup.
“I’m cheering them on from a distance for them to get the MLS Cup,” he said on Monday. “They have a good team, they’re doing well, they have a good style of play that’s winning them games. I really hope Red Bulls gets the MLS Cup really soon.”
While with the Red Bulls, Miazga came tantalizingly close to helping the club capture their first MLS Cup. In 2014, the Red Bulls lost to the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Championship 4-3 on aggregate. One year later, the Red Bulls narrowly took home the Supporters’ Shield but could not get past Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference Championship, falling on aggregate 2-1.
It’s been nearly three years since Miazga departed for Europe, and now the Red Bulls are the most dominant defensive team in MLS. The club have only conceded 29 goals all season long, best in the league.
With that in mind, USMNT coach Dave Sarachan selected a pair of Red Bulls defenders for his squad for the USMNT "Kickoff Series." Aaron Long and Tim Parker have each started more than 20 matches for the Red Bulls this season and could make an impact against Mexico on Tuesday (8:30 pm ET | ESPN, Univision, UDN).
Along with Tyler Adams in the midfield, Miazga is excited about the Red Bulls players who have come to play for the Red, White and Blue.
“Obviously, I know Tyler, I know Tim from back in the youth [days],” he said. “I’m getting to know Aaron now. They’re doing very well with Red Bulls. It’s good to see Red Bulls doing well. I think they’re fighting for the Supporters’ Shield right now. It's good that they’re on a good run of form. It’s good to bring some good players from that team into camp.”
Sarachan noted on Monday that there will be changes for his squad against Mexico and that those changes could include some rotation in defense. Those changes could mean a third cap for Parker or a first cap for Long. Either way, Miazga, who started against Brazil, believes the back line will be ready to face a dynamic Mexico side.
“Obviously, it’s always good to incorporate young players and see what everybody can do and what they can bring to the team and what they can showcase,” he said. “Whoever plays tomorrow is obviously good enough and is able to play and is ready to contribute to the team.”