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SBI MLS Rookie of the Week: Michael Bustamante

Michael Bustamante

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In his first career professional start, Michael Bustamante turned in a solid performance for the New York Red Bulls in a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC.

The former Boston University Terrier was inserted into the lineup after an injury to Lloyd Sam in training last Friday, and he earned an assist on the Red Bulls’ first goal with a great feed inside the box to teammate Dax McCarty, who fed Thierry Henry for an easy finish. For his performance, Bustamante has been named SBI MLS Rookie of the Week.

Bustamante beat out DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Barson, and Dillon Powers for this week’s award.

What did you think of Bustamante’s performance? Which rookie stood out to you in MLS Week 29?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I remember seeing Michael in person on TV in 2009 and 2010 against BC in person. He dazzled in person. Never understood why he didn’t get more GA consideration. Here is to hoping that Petke wants to bring him along as much as he should want to. Unfortunately, Mike seems to be bringing a shorter term approach to his coaching than what is ideal. If I were management I would tell Mike – no matter what we have your back for the next 4 years. But alas there’s no way he’s been told that. Shameful.

  2. Way to go Michael. Show them what a Colombian soccer player can do if given the opportunity. Keep up your good work. We are all very proud of you. Keep scoring!!!

  3. Bustamante had a good game…hopefully he can get some pt to improve…a couple of times in the match he wasn’t selfish enough to shoot or was being too respectful of henry and passed henry the ball even though he had a shot or lane….but overall was impressed with him….

    • Yedlin WAS very good this week, it’s true. We kind of expect that performance for him, though, at this point. Boostman is a surprising revelation so it’s cool to see him get the publicity. Hopefully Yedlin gets a callup for November. I think it’s worth it to take a look at him.

  4. Was at the game Saturday, and really liked what I saw from him. He had great vision, and excellent command of the ball. I was like, where has this dude been? Nice to see him play so well when I expected Sam to be playing, who has also been playing well. Hope to see more of this kid.

  5. Bustamante showed some potential but 1/3 of his passes went to the other team. Hopefully he’ll probably improve with more real game experience.

  6. Solid performance by Bustamante this week and deserved recognition. However, the guy is 24 and just making his first MLS start! We have to minimize the use of college soccer to develop players. It puts us at a disadvantage to virtually every other country in terms of player development. This guy wasted four years playing a few months a year at a super low level, delaying his development. And yes I know he got a degree, that’s great (I assume he did anyway). But he could’ve just gone back to school after his career was over if he wanted. I know MLS/US Soccer is working on this but the sooner the better.

    • It’s easy to pick on college soccer, but who are the US’ most accomplished field players at the international club level? Clint Dempsey and Claudio Renya, both attending college before turning pro.

      • Considering most US players played college soccer until recently that doesn’t really tell us anything. It certainly doesn’t mean that 18 year old kids will develop better by playing college soccer than they would turning pro. For most, I doubt that’s the case.

      • Agreed, it doesn’t say which is better, but it does tell us that college is a viable option to still be an elite level player.

      • Yes. I think its basically a question of is college better than just playing MLS reserve games. Probably not even, in terms of the everyday training and level. However, you learn how to learn in college, which I think can translate into soccer.

        guys like Dempsey and Yedlin who leave early show that is perhaps a good way to go.

      • Playing professionally abroad is another option for some. No doubt it’s possible to become an excellent playing after college soccer but my point was just that it’s far from optimal for most players or for US soccer in general. Just throwing it out there.

      • Until MLS academies can scout and comb through all of the players then college soccer remains a viable option for the majority of players. Think how many quality players would slip through the cracks if college soccer went away. They get a chance to play for 4 years and impress coaches while the college picks up the cost for development. It’s not the best system, but probably better than most realize.

      • Well it’s hard to imagine that the best way to develop young players is to have them play 4 years at a low level a few months a year. Sure, it’s possible for college players to become good pros. I’m just saying that, generally speaking, it’s not really the best system and we should be trying to improve the way we develop players in this country.

    • he definitely should have signed with manchester united instead of wasting all that time in college.

      seriously though – what do you think his options were?

      finally, college players can easily play 9-10 months a year, so your “wasted time” comment is not accurate when considering how much he was playing throughout the year.

  7. I’m just happy to see a NYRB draft pick actually sniff the pitch. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend. Anyone know if their first pick is progressing at all?

    • Out for the season. They had no first round pick this year, Ian Christenson was their second round pick. Don’t think he played at all this year in MLS.

      • Yeah, thank the Soler/Backer era. They traded our picks for beans almost every season, except 2011 when Backe first came and managed to get Tim Ream.

        I thought I saw him kicking the ball at halftime last game.

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