Why Kaku didn't start for New York Red Bulls in derby win over New York City FC

Kaku came off the bench Thursday night and nearly provided the knockout punch in the latest chapter of the Hudson River Derby.

The New York Red Bulls playmaker, who entered the match in the 73rd minute, appeared to have the stoppage-time insurance goal from just inside the 18-yard box if not for a diving save by Sean Johnson.

But why wasn’t the playmaker in the starting XI? Red Bulls coach Chris Armas explained his tactical decision in the post-match press conference following his team's 1-0 win Thursday night at Red Bull Arena.

“We started Jared Stroud thinking the beginning of this game would be a lot of counter-pressing and second balls, high energy and I think we were right about that,” Armas said. “We got outfouled I think 17-4 on the night, it was a very combative game. The plan was to use Kaku all along off the bench. When the game opens up a little bit and we can hurt the opposition, he comes in and creates a few really good looks.”

“We have guys we believe in and different games are going to call for different guys,” Armas added. "We got that right tonight.”

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