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2021 Roster Assessment for the New York Red Bulls

| April 6, 2021 4:51 am PDT

It’s fair to say that 2020 was an indifferent year for the Red Bulls.

Chris Armas was fired following a below-par start to the season, leaving Gerhard Struber to pick up the pieces. All the while, young stars like Kyle Duncan and Caden Clark continued to light up Major League Soccer.

Struber’s side ended up falling in the first round of the playoffs, but the new-look 2021 Red Bulls roster has the potential to get the club back where it belongs.

Below, I analyze the New York Red Bulls roster for the 2021 MLS season and look at the club’s offseason transfers.

The 2021 New York Red Bulls Roster

Here is the current New York Red Bulls roster in full.

Goalkeepers Defenders Midfielders Forwards
David Jensen Aaron Long Cristhian Casseres Jr. Daniel Royer
Carlos Coronel Amro Tarek Sean Davis (C) Omir Hernandez
Ryan Meara Andres Reyes Youba Diarra Florian Valot
Luca Lewis Sean Nealis Dru Yearwood (DP) Cameron Harper
  Jason Pendant Bento Estrela Brian White
  Andrew Gutman Caden Clark Tom Barlow
  John Tolkin Wikelman Carmona Luther Archimede
  Tom Edwards   Fabio
  Kyle Duncan    
  Mandela Egbo    

Who Will Start in Goal for the Red Bulls in 2021?

David Jensen made 11 appearances between the sticks last season, yet it was Ryan Meara who finished the 2020 campaign as Struber’s number one.

Meara is likely to start as the Red Bulls’ shot-stopper this year, although Carlos Coronel and Luca Lewis are expected to compete for the jersey. Coronel is on loan from sister club Red Bull Salzburg, while 20-year-old Lewis was recently promoted from NYRB II.

The Red Bulls Possess Great Defensive Options

It could be argued that Aaron Long is the Red Bulls’ best player – and that naturally makes him one of the top center-backs in Major League Soccer right now.

Tim Parker has left to join Houston, but the arrival of Andres Reyes gives Struber plenty of choice in central defense. Let’s not forget that Amro Tarek also offers ample cover in that area.

The Red Bulls are stacked in the full-back department, with Kyle Duncan among the best right-backs in the league. In fact, Duncan featured in every single game last season and even put himself among the 2020 MLS stat leaders – achieving more blocks than any other player.

The 2021 New York Red Bulls roster also boasts Stoke City loanee Tom Edwards and left-backs such as Jason Pendant, Andrew Gutman, and John Tolkin.

Is the Red Bulls’ Midfield Good Enough?

We all know that Sean Davis a class act, right? I mean the captain wouldn’t have over 150 Red Bulls appearances to his name if he wasn’t a top-quality player.

But elsewhere, it feels as though the club’s midfield options are pretty sparse.

It’s fair to say that Dru Yearwood didn’t exactly hit the ground running following his switch from English club Brentford last year. The Designated Player will need to do a lot more in 2021 to endear himself to the club’s supporters.

Granted, Caden Clark produced one of the standout moments from the 2020 MLS season. But Struber can’t rely on the 17-year-old to make match-winning contributions on a consistent basis.

Goals Could Be Hard to Come By

The Red Bulls didn’t net enough goals last season – it’s as simple as that. They may have managed to climb to sixth in the Eastern Conference, yet seven teams finished with a better scoring record.

Brian White (6) and Daniel Royer (4) bagged ten goals between them. But Tom Barlow (3), Florian Valot (2), Cristhian Casseres Jr. (2), and Omir Fernandez (2) only contributed a combined total of nine.

Needless to say, new signings like Luther Archimede, Cameron Harper, and Fabio will need to chip in this year.

Speaking of new signings, it’s time to take a look at the Red Bulls’ player transfers in 2021.

New York Red Bulls Offseason Transfers

As you can see, the Red Bulls have been busy during the offseason.

Players In

  • Andres Reyes – Atletico Nacional (Free)
  • Wikelman Carmona – Dynamo Puerto (Free)
  • Cameron Harper – Celtic (Free)
  • Andrew Gutman – Atlanta United (Loan)
  • Tom Edwards – Stoke City (Loan)
  • Fabio – Oeste FC-CP (Loan)
  • Carlos Coronel – Red Bull Salzburg (Loan)
  • Youba Diarra – Red Bull Salzburg (Loan)
  • Luther Archimede – Syracuse (Draft)

Fabio could prove to be the answer to the Red Bulls’ attacking problems from last term. The 23-year-old Brazilian has scored 20 goals in 47 appearances for Oeste and will spend the 2021 MLS season on loan at Red Bull Arena.

At the other end of the pitch, defensive additions like Gutman, Reyes, and Edwards are likely to give Struber a few selection headaches this year.

Thanks to Red Bull’s multi-club ownership, the New York side has also been able to take two RB Salzburg players on loan. Coronel will compete for the goalkeeper spot, while Diarra looks set to add grit to the team’s midfield.

Overall, Struber must be pleased with the club’s offseason acquisitions.

Players Out

  • Tim Parker – Houston Dynamo ($0.5m)
  • Chris Lema – San Antonio FC (Free)
  • Kaku – Al-Taawoun (Free)
  • Patrick Seagrist – Inter Miami (Free)
  • Mathias Jorgensen – Aarhus GF (Loan)
  • Jared Stroud – Austin FC (Draft)
  • Ben Mines – FC Cincinnati (Draft)
  • Kendall McIntosh – Sporting Kansas City (Draft)

Losing Tim Parker to the Dynamo isn’t ideal, although the Red Bulls boast strength in depth in defense. Parker has almost 200 MLS appearances under his belt, so his experience will be missed.

The club lost three players in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, most notably Jared Stroud. The winger departs New York following a breakout season, leaving the Red Bulls’ squad light in the wide areas.

Paraguayan attacking midfielder Kaku bagged 14 goals and 21 assists in 87 appearances for the Red Bulls, but he has left to join Al-Taawoun in Saudi Arabia. The team is likely to miss his creativity.

Final Words on the 2021 New York Red Bulls Roster

In all honesty, it is difficult to gauge exactly how the Red Bulls will fare this year.

There have been plenty of comings and goings over the course of the offseason, although I’m not entirely sure that every transfer has worked in the club’s favor.

Losing guys like Kaku, Parker, and Stroud has undoubtedly made the 2021 New York Red Bulls roster weaker in certain areas. Having said that, incoming players such as Fabio and Harper have given the squad a nice balance.

I expect the Red Bulls to rely on their defense again this year. However, if young guns like Clark and Duncan pick up where they left off last season, the club should be able to secure a playoff spot without any real issues.

The Red Bulls produced one of the worst seasons in MLS history back in 2009. But whatever happens this year, Struber’s men shouldn’t have to worry about breaking that unwanted record in 2021.

If betting on MLS is your thing, make sure you check out our MLS betting guide.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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