New York Red Bulls’ all-decade team: Bradley Wright-Phillips and friends

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Bradley Wright-Phillips, Aaron Long, Dax McCarty

The New York Red Bulls saw a load of high-caliber players the past 10 years. ESNY cut down their talents into an All-Decade team.

Onz Chery

The 2010s have unarguably been the best decade in the history of the New York Red Bulls. They won three MLS Supporters’ Shields this decade and reached the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final.

RBNY’s success during the 2010s was the result of talented players and coaches.

Stars from Europe started to join the club in 2010, including Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill. Additionally, the only Red Bull player to win the MLS Golden Boot twice, Bradley Wright-Phillips, joined the team this decade.

The club started to produce promising homegrown players. For example, Tyler Adams and Matt Miazga. They also had a coach, Jesse Marsch, who was hired for by a champion’s league team in Europe.

It’s been a decade of titans for RBNY. To honor those titans, ESNY has gathered all of NYRB’s top talents this decade into one team.

Head Coach: Jesse Marsch

Jesse Marsch joined the Red Bulls in 2015 to replace the then-best coach the club ever had, Mike Petke. Marsch only had one season of head coaching experience under his belt prior to being hired.  That didn’t stop him from outdoing his predecessor.

The American led the Red Bulls to the Supporters’ Shield and won the MLS Coach of the Year in his inaugural season. In his fourth and final year in 2018, Marsch won the Supporters’ Shield again. 2018 was the best regular season in Red Bulls’ history. In 2018, the club amassed a 22W-7L-5T record.

The 46-year-old is the only RBNY coach to win two Shields. He also holds the best coaching record in RBNY history (76W-45L-30T).

Goalkeeper: Luis Robles

Luis Robles made it a habit to keep his side in the game with unreal saves. He allowed only 1.3 goals-per-game during his seven years with New York.

The Arizona native won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015. He has been the starting keeper during RBNY’s three Supporters’ Shields.

Through it all, Robles has become the club’s all-time leader in saves.

Right-back: Amir Murillo

Many RBNY fans won’t like seeing the Panamanian’s name here. He had the type of season that made supporters scream at their TV in 2019. However, in 2018, Amir Murillo made the MLS All-Star team and the CONCACAF Champions League Best XI.

Murillo is the only RBNY right-back this past decade to win those accolades. He was also incredibly important the Red Bulls’ defense in 2017.

Center-back: Aaron Long [Defender of the Decade]

It’s not a surprise to see the American’s name on the All-Decade team. Aaron Long is one of the best defenders to ever wear a Red Bulls’ jersey.

He’s the first RBNY player to win MLS Defender of the Year. He collected the award in 2018 while inscribing his name in the MLS Best XI.

RBNY won the Supporters’ Shield that year. The 27-year-old is quick, knows how to anticipate, and defends long balls well. He’s the Red Bulls’ defender of the decade.

Center-back: Tim Ream

Tim Ream often receives criticism when he plays for the United States. That said, if you go back to his first season with New York, 2010, the center half was one of the most praised defenders in the league.

Despite his rookie status, Ream was a calm defender and a great passer. He was the team’s Defender of the Year and one of the three candidates for Rookie of the Year.

After a strong second season with RBNY, the Missouri native transferred to the Bolton Wanderers. Ream ended up winning the team’s Player of the Year twice during his time there.

Left-back: Kemar Lawrence

If there’s a conversation about energy in the MLS, it would be a crime not to mention the five-year New York man.

Kemar Lawrence’s stamina, speed, hard tackles, and great deliveries provided him all the tools to be an elite fullback.

Lawrence has been one of the best, if not the best, left-back in the MLS in the past five seasons. Lawrence was a key contributor in the Red Bulls’ 2015 and 2018 Supporters’ Shields.

Right midfielder: Lloyd Sam

Lloyd Sam was the team’s second-top scorer—10 MLS goals—when they won their second Shield this decade in 2015. During the year prior, he was the second-most assists in the league.

Sam was a winger with good vision, which fit perfectly within the Red Bulls’ wide style of play. He stayed with the club for five seasons, winning two regular-season titles in that time span.

Central midfielder: Dax McCarty

Dax McCarty makes the cut, and it’s not just because his hair matches RBNY’s jersey. The University of North Carolina product was the heart of the team during its run to the Shield in both 2013 and 2015.

He’s a solid tackler and passer. He knows how to move to space, and holds the ball very well.

McCarty was with the Red Bulls for six seasons. He made the MLS All-Star team and the Best XI once in those six seasons.

Central midfielder: Sacha Kljestan

If you need a 2010’s Red Bull player to send a teammate on goal, dial Sacha Kljestan’s number.

Kljestan was the team’s assist leader each year during his three seasons with RBNY. The 34-year-old holds the club record for assists provided in a regular season, tallying 20 in 2016. Only MLS legend Carlos Valderrama racked up more assists in a single season with 26.

Kljestan set The Red Bulls’ franchise record for the most assists provided in just three seasons. He collected 53 in all competitions during his tenure.

Left midfielder: Daniel Royer

Daniel Royer led the team in assists and goals last season. He was the club’s second-top scorer in both 2017 and 2018. In just four seasons with the Red Bulls, Royer scored the seventh-most goals in franchise history.

Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips [Player of the Decade]

Bradley Wright-Phillips is the best player–not just forward–in New York’s 25 years of existence. He’s the club’s top all-time scorer, netting 125 goals in six years.

Wright-Phillips owns the most MLS Golden Boots (2) and the most team MVP awards (3) in the history of the club. He also made the MLS All-Star team and the Best XI twice. He was named to the CONCACAF Best XI once.

The Englishman was present for all three of RBNY’s Supporters’ Shields.

Forward: Thierry Henry (Captain of the Decade)

Thierry Henry doesn’t make the squad of the decade because he was a European superstar. He makes it because he absolutely deserves it. Henry was better at creating goals than any other player in New York this decade.

In the Frenchman’s first full MLS season in 2011, he led New York in scoring. In 2012, Henry was the team’s assist leader. He notched the most assists again and was the second-top scorer the following year.

In 2014, Henry tallied the second-most assists ever in a season for New York (14). He dragged his form into the playoffs, providing five assists in as many games.

Henry averaged a goal or an assist every other game in the MLS.

The former FC Barcelona man was RBNY’s longest-serving captain this decade. He was also the most experienced.

Subs

CB – Matt Miazga: The New Jersey native had a sublime campaign in 2015 at 20 years old. The campaign earned him a contract with Chelsea. That was the only MLS season in which he played in more than seven games. 

MF – Tyler Adams: Adams is without a doubt the most talented midfielder New York saw this decade. That said, he only played two full seasons with the team.

Meanwhile, McCarty was with the club for six seasons during which he was one of the best midfielders in the MLS. Kljestan, on the other hand, is the best assist-man in RBNY’s history. Therefore, it was inevitable Adams wouldn’t make the team’s starting 11.

FWD/CAM – Tim Cahill: In 2013, the Australian was the team’s MVP and Golden Boot Award winner. He was also an MLS All-Star and made the Best XI. Unfortunately, that was his only notable season with New York. In Cahill’s other two seasons with The Metros, he racked up just three goals and five assists combined.

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