Ilsinho vs. Tyler Adams @ New York Red Bulls

2019 Schedule Analysis: June

After a grueling May, June brings a welcome break but another set of intriguing matchups. Minnesota, the Revs, and NYCFC still have to prove it, and Red Bulls must show they can survive without Tyler Adams. In short, this is a winnable set of games, but with three of them on the road the Union will need to be in rhythm at this point to make a summer run. 

@ Minnesota United FC - June 2

Who Were They Last Year?
  • A team without a defense, also known as the team with Fernando Bob, also known as the team the Union knocked around to make the playoffs.
  • A one-man show for much of 2018, Darwin Quintero Jr. was a master of the lob shot and a rare bright spot on a Loons squad that never put it all together
  • 11-20-3 (49 GF, 71 GA), 10-6-1 at home (30 GF, 25 GA)
What Has Changed This Offseason?

Jan Gregus, a midfield DP is joining the roster, and ginormous striker Angelo Rodriguez will have time to settle in. Rodriguez looked good last year after arriving midseason, but it's hard to determine what his ceiling could be. The Ibarras remain and a healthy Kevin Molino could be a gamechanger, but... this is a team that gave up a ton of goals last year and they don't actually look that different in back yet. What gives? If Gregus is worth the price, MNUFC will be able to score at will in 2019, but can they stop anyone? That's the obvious thing to ask when a team that gave up 71 goals in 2018 doesn't bring in anyone big in back to change the defensive calculus. So here's the bet: Ozzie Alonso, Sam Cronin, and an iffy back line is enough to support Gregus and some potentially impressive talent up front. It could work, but a lot of things will have to go right for that setup to lead to the postseason.

vs. New York Red Bulls - June 8

Who Were They Last Year?
  • A team without a defense, also known as the team with Fernando Bob, also known as the team the Union knocked around to make the playoffs.
  • A one-man show for much of 2018, Darwin Quintero Jr. was a master of the lob shot and a rare bright spot on a Loons squad that never put it all together
  • 11-20-3 (49 GF, 71 GA), 10-6-1 at home (30 GF, 25 GA)
What Has Changed This Offseason?

Jesse Marsch built New York Red Bulls into a powerhouse, but the team's final form came too late for Sacha Kljestan. The playmaker was shipped south to Orlando and Kaku arrived with a hefty price tag and weighty expectations. He lived up to them for a while, but under Armas the Red Bulls made an uncomfortable habit of winning 1-0. This is impressive but difficult to sustain over an extended period, yet Armas' team came through and ended up with the most points in the league. Now Tyler Adams is gone, Tim Parker is re-signed, and Bradley Wright-Phillips remains a unicorn. Can Red Bull overcome the loss of their midfield engine in 2019 and continue to challenge the top of the Eastern Conference on the back of BWP, Royer, and Kaku? Potentially. But thus far this is not a team that has become better in the offseason. Development (Ben Mines) and returns from injury (Vincent Bezencourt) will add depth, but Adams was a special player in MLS and, like NYC, this is a team that is betting they can remain competitive after losing an elite holding midfielder. MLSSoccer.com's Matt Doyle calls that position the most important in the league, and given the physicality of MLS that may be correct. As of now, though, this club is far more vulnerable to a drop off than they were when Armas took over.

@ New England Revolution - June 26

Year two under Brad Friedel could see a huge leap forward if everybody grasps the high-energy pressing system. Then again, it could all fall apart unless the back line can hold things together. See our May analysis for more.

 

@ New York City FC - June 29

Who Were They Last Year?
  • 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, unstable following the exit of Patrick Viera and Yangel Herrera's injury
  • The talent was never in question, but unlike his long-time collaborator Pep Guardiola, Dome Torrent never put all the pieces together into a cohesive whole last season
  • 16-8-10(59 GF, 45 GA), 12-1-4 at home (36 GF, 10 GA)
What Has Changed This Offseason?

Yangel Herrera is gone to Huesca, but high-ceiling American prospect Keaton Parks is likely to arrive soon. That... could work out? But losing Herrera is a blow no matter how you spin it. The Venezuelan was the type of player that has changed games for years in MLS, a mobile destroyer who takes smart angles; when healthy he was like an upgraded Diego Chara. Parks is big, mobile, and has a good passing range, but putting it all together week to week while opponents endlessly clatter into you is another test entirely. There's still a huge strength in midfield here with Alex Ring, Maxi Moralez, and the frustratingly mediocre Ebenezer Ofori, however the elite status of a team post-David Villa and Herrera should not be assumed. Attacking help could still arrive, and Torrent will look to establish a solid system that allows Moralez freedom to create and gives a lot of freedom to the wide players. Without Villa, though, will there be enough goals in the side to be truly competitive?

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