HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls pulled off a remarkable turnaround in their home opener, but their star playmaker was not a part of it.
The Red Bulls rebounded from a poor first half in emphatic fashion on Saturday afternoon, scoring four goals after halftime to erase a one-goal deficit and defeat the San Jose Earthquakes, 4-1. One of the biggest questions in the aftermath of the victory, though, was about the absence of Kaku. The attacking midfielder was not in uniform during the win not because of an injury or because he was being rested but because there was a “minor internal issue”, according to Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas.
While Armas did not want to go in detail about what exactly the issue was when asked about it postgame, he did comment on Kaku’s Twitter usage when questioned about the cryptic tweet the Paraguayan international published during the week. Kaku said in a tweet on Tuesday that “It’s sad when you realize you’re not as important as you thought.”
“You’d have to ask Kaku about that,” said Armas. “Kaku is passionate. We’re all passionate. That’s his best quality: passion. No one wants to win more than him. I don’t think you can find playmakers around the world that put as much in as he does, with and without the ball.
“We have to be mindful of how we educate our players and what they put out there, but sometimes, in the spur of the moment, you put out things that maybe (if) you could do it again (you might) not. Listen, those things are always short-lived, and we see a committed player from him through and through. But again, we don’t want him to lose the fire and the passion.
“We’ve just got to be mindful of how we do some of those things.”
A source told SBI on Saturday night that there is concern from some within the team about Kaku’s mind being elsewhere and not focused on the Red Bulls. Kaku had been pursued by Club America over the winter but a deal never transpired reportedly because the Liga MX power did not meet the Red Bulls’ asking price, and that is something that may be lingering into the season.
In any case, it is clear the Red Bulls need Kaku to avoid any more issues and stay on the field if they are to be at their best in 2019.
“You clearly miss a player like that knowing the quality and capacity that he has,” said Michael Amir Murillo.