New York Red Bulls II won their eighth match of the MLS NEXT Pro season 3-0 against Inter Miami CF II. It was a convincing win for the Red Bulls reserves, which brought them tied on points with third place New England Revolution II and a point below second place Columbus Crew 2. Ibrahim Sekagya’s squad lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, which at times looked to be a 4-2-2-2 with Bento Estrela and Dylan Sullivan sitting deep in central midfield just in front of the Red Bulls defense. Similar to the first team, Red Bulls II played with a high press and that helped them get their opening two goals by forcing Inter Miami II to concede possession in their own half. Inter Miami II played in a 4-4-1-1 formation with patient build up out of the back and looked to progress up field using their fullbacks and wingers.
A1 — Very good, could play higher
A2 — Strong potential to play higher
B1 — Good, strong player at level
B2 — Potential to be a strong player at level
C — Average for the level, rewatch
D — Below average in this match
- Nationality: Ugandan
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 17/02/2004
- Club: New York Red Bulls II
- Career: Wakiso Giants FC, New York Red Bulls II
- Position: Left Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Ibrahim Kasule played as a left midfielder in the 4-4-2 formation used by New York Red Bulls II against Inter Miami CF II. Standing at approximately 1.72m with a slim build, the Ugandan midfielder demonstrated strong agility and balance on the ball in this match with his ability to quickly change directions and run at the opposition at pace without losing body control. He also showed that he can run at a moderate speed over a medium distance. However, he needs to work on his strength as he was shouldered off the ball on a couple of occasions by Miami defenders. In addition, his defensive work rate could be improved as he remained higher up the pitch while out of possession and did not help too much defensively besides the rare press a few times in the match.
From a technical perspective, Kasule demonstrated good ball control and a good first touch when receiving a variety of passes from his teammates. He demonstrated that he’s able to control the ball in tight spaces with Miami players around him. He also showed that he’s able to deliver well on corners, producing some dangerous corners during the match. The one area where he fell short was with his short passing as there were a number of misplaced passes from the midfielder.
From a tactical perspective, Kasule showed good movement on and off the ball, trying to create space for others around him or running into space to try and receive a pass. He could work on his pressing as he didn’t press the opposition on many occasions when he should have.
Lastly, from a psychological perspective, Kasule appears to be confident and composed while in possession, not hesitating to run at the opposition and progress play. He also demonstrated his composure from the penalty spot adding to the Red Bulls lead. However, I would have liked to see better decision making on his part, with many of his short passes either having too much weight on them or being played directly to the opposition. In addition, I would have liked to see more aggression from the midfielder as there were times when he could have pressed more or tackled to win the ball back in certain areas but wasn’t aggressive enough.
Rating – B2
The lower rating was based on this match only, which was a disappointing showing from Kasule. At the time of writing this report, Ibrahim Kasule has already finished the MLS NEXT Pro season with 17 goals and 6 assists in 27 appearances for the reserves this season and finished in the MLS NEXT Pro Best XI. In this match specifically, it’s great that the Ugandan international scored a penalty and that he displayed some flashes of the player that he is, but he didn’t look convincing with his performance overall. I would need to see him in another game as he has had a good season in general. This match should serve as a reminder that he needs to stay consistent in order to get more minutes with the Red Bulls first team next season.
- Nationality: American
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 24/04/2000
- Club: New York Red Bulls II
- Career: U.S. Naval Academy, New York Red Bulls II
- Position: Center Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Matthew Nocita played as a center back in the 4-4-2 formation used by New York Red Bulls II. Standing at 2.03m, he’s not the most agile player on the pitch, as he doesn’t adjust his body quickly at times especially when faced with the pace of Inter Miami’s striker Shanyder Borgelin. He has a moderate speed over medium distance using his long strides to help him get back into position when out of possession. He does have a good work rate, working to cover a lot of ground in the back line during the match. He also demonstrated good strength holding players off the ball while in possession.
From a technical perspective, Nocita made a number of good short passes in this match. His height and heading ability allowed him to do well in aerial duels as well as be a constant threat on set pieces. He is a right footed player but used his left foot a couple of times during the match showing comfort with both feet. He did make a number of fouls in this match, notably when closely marking Borgelin and needs to be careful on this front.
From a tactical perspective, Nocita seemed to show good tactical understanding in this match, notably following his assignment of sticking close to Borgelin throughout and limited the striker’s effectiveness during this match. He showed good defensive positioning, blocking a number of shots and also cleared an attempt off the line in the second half.
Lastly, from a psychological perspective, Nocita demonstrated good concentration and aggression at the back for the Red Bulls, constantly sticking close to Inter Miami’s strikers and wasn’t afraid to draw fouls when he needed to. He also showed good anticipation cutting out several passes from the opposition. I would say the only thing Nocita can work on here is his decision making, where he sometimes committed fouls that he could have easily avoided such as pulling down Borgelin on several occasions.
Rating – A2
Overall, Matthew Nocita had a good match for the Red Bulls. He blocked a number of shots from Inter Miami and imposed himself with his height and positioning in the backline, while sticking close to Borgelin throughout the match. He would be interesting to see more of with the first team next season. He seems to be a good player for the level, but I’m not sure if he’s quite ready for the pace of the MLS full time just yet. It would be good to give him more minutes in cup competition next season to get him used to higher quality opposition and help continue his development.