To be honest we are not intentionally targeting Red Bull kids it’s just that they produce a lot of really good players.
With the status of both designated players unclear and the looming expansion draft, the New York Red Bulls will not have the luxury to maintain roster consistency into the 2015 season. The academy may be more crucial in the immediate future than ever before.
On Saturday, seven Red Bull academy players will be facing off less than 30 minutes from Red Bull Arena. The match between Seton Hall and Georgetown will not just feature quantity, but quality.
The National Premier Soccer League MVP Victor Manosalvas from the Red Bulls U-23, which achieved a perfect season on their way to the championship, leads Seton Hall with 5 goals. The Clifton native is a red-shirt senior midfielder (missing 2012 due to injury) made a huge jump in production in 2014. He is good in possession and playmaking with 5 assist in 2013, however he added the goal scoring touch to his game carrying his Golden Boot NPSL season into the college year.
From Georgetown, Brandon Allen of Old Bridge has 9 goals on the season and is the lone Baby Bull to make the Hermann Trophy preseason watch list. At 21-years old Allen has the physical (big shouldered 6’1 frame) and technical ability to go pro, perhaps next season. Think Blas Perez from FC Dallas with better speed. One of the few questions about him moving to the pro-level is how good will he be with his back to goal against larger centerbacks.
“The first Red Bull kid we got was Brandon Allen and he is a kid that got excited about what we were doing. He had a significant role in our success over the last two and a half seasons,” said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Weise. “To be honest we are not intentionally targeting Red Bull kids it’s just that they produce a lot of really good players.”
Ian Christianson on Red Bull’s senior squad and captain of the 2012 Hoyas team that made the finals has trained with Allen and several other players from Georgetown at Red Bulls, points to Allen’s ability to “make a goal out of nothing. Always seems to be at the right place at the right time, which isn’t luck when you do it over and over again.”
Georgetown has established itself as one of the top teams this season. Head Coach Brian Weise has been able to recruit MLS academy talent from across the country. College Soccer News rated this season’s freshman class as fourth in the country. Coach Weise, “Brandon may have helped us with Alex which may have helped us with Arun and Chris. And to be honest we may have a couple that are verbalyl committed that are just good players.”
Included in the freshman class is two members of the Red Bulls U-18 and U-16 Development Academy National Champions, Christopher Lema of Ridgefield, NJ and Arun Basuljevic of Mahopac, NY. These pair of midfielders have made spot starts this season, Lema started in central midfield against Princeton last month.
Christianson trained with Lema and Basuljevic in the Red Bulls preseason while both were in high school. “Both are very good players, they trained with us in the summer and played with the U-23 as well,” said Christianson. “Obviously there is a really strong connection with Red Bulls and Georgetown. Red Bulls produces a lot of talent, and the way Georgetown plays attracts a lot of talent.”
Seton Hall struggled in Big East play, conceding the most goals per game in the conference. They had opportunities to secure results against quality sides such as Princeton, Delaware, and most recently Creighton, but gave up leads late.
The Pirates want to possess the ball and attack wide with their fullbacks. Red Bull academy and U-23 midfielder Konrad Plewa has moved to backline to help work the ball out of the back is learning the position. Senior midfielder Bolu Akinyode was captain of the Red Bulls U-16 team now plays central midfielder/box to box/ destroyer role. Akinyode had a solid start to the season and can boss the midfield when he is on his game.
Alex Muyl is Brandon Allen’s strike partner up top is a sophomore with academy ties as well as US Soccer. Muyl wears the 9 and Allen sports the 10, however their roles are reversed as Muyl has 15 assist in two season, 6 this season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Muyl on several preseason watch lists next season going into his junior year.
The first time Georgetown came to the Garden State this season local Allen and Lema supporters alone out numbered Princeton’s. Expect to see a similar crowd with a large number of scouts in attendance on Saturday 1pm at Seton Hall’s Owen T. Carroll’s Field. Most notable in attendance at Princeton was US Men’s U-23 coach Tab Ramos.