HARRISON, New Jersey — Frankie Amaya hasn’t needed much time to get acclimated to his new surroundings with the New York Red Bulls and the young midfielder showed on Saturday why the Red Bulls made the blockbuster trade to add him to their already-impressive collection of young talent.
Amaya’s first-half goal proved to be the winning margin in the Red Bulls 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday. It was a confident finish from Amaya, who was able to celebrate his first goal for his new club since arriving in a trade with FC Cincinnati.
Not only did Amaya play the hero in front of the Red Bulls faithful, he showed another positive glimpse of why the club brought him to New Jersey.
“Frankie is very important for the whole team,” Struber said post match. “He has different skills to others. He is good in the No. 10 and No. 8. He is very good in tight spaces.”
“Opponents will find it hard playing against him. He makes us better in the final third,” Struber said. “You saw that today. Physically he did well too and now its about getting him up to playing 90 minutes every week. We will need him.”
Amaya continued to partner with Caden Clark, Cristian Casseres, and Sean Davis in the Red Bulls midfield, forming a new partnership among Struber’s squad. After being put on the back foot by Toronto in the opening 25+ minutes, Amaya was able to get free to score his second-career MLS goal.
Caden Clark won possession on the left wing before passing to striker Fabio at the top of TFC’s box. A layoff to Amaya was the best option, allowing the onrushing midfielder to hit a low, powerful drive into the bottom-left corner. It was Amaya’s only shot on goal, but the third-year player made it count when the Red Bulls needed it.
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“Caden won the ball and dribbled up field,” Amaya said. “It was my time to get upfield and Fabio laid it off to me after I called for it. I just aimed for the corner and thankfully it went in.”
“I’m really glad we got him here in New York because he is a good player,” Clark said of Amaya. “We’re trying to make the team better and I think he is an easy player to connect with. We’re working hard and I think our connection will only get better with time.”
Amaya only played 65 minutes for the Red Bulls, but was able to watch from the sidelines as Clark scored his third goal of the season to ice the Red Bulls victory. After coming from a struggling FC Cincinnati side, Amaya has made a smooth transition into the style of play that Struber wants from his players.
The 20-year-old drew three fouls, completed one tackle, and one dribble to go along with goal, showing the versatility that made him the No. 1 selection in the 2019 MLS Draft. Amaya has jumped right into the starting lineup with the Red Bulls and is excited to continue gelling with his teammates, who have picked up back-to-back clean sheet victories in the process.
“I think I have the ability to switch my speed especially when pressing,” Amaya said about his playing style. “I think it works well because everyone is on the same page. I think we have a good group of guys that work hard. Its only our second game together but we’ve been making a good bond so far. I think there will be more to come.”
“I fit Gerhard’s system very well and I think everyone is working well together so far. It’s very good that we are getting wins and progressing forward. Aaron Long is very good and very experienced, a lot of the young guys have helped me too.”
After suffering back-to-back defeats to start the season, things are looking up for the Red Bulls who now have six points out of a possible 12. Amaya and Clark have formed a growing partnership in midfield while defensively the team is working hard to keep opponents at bay.
Up next for the Red Bulls is a home showdown with rivals Philadelphia Union on May 15th, the latest opportunity for Amaya to continue working towards his new goals with the club.
“We have one goal as a team and it’s making it very easy to play with a team like that, who wants to work hard and fight for the goal at hand,” Amaya said. “I am very happy to be a Red Bull and am excited to keep working forward.”