After a fantastic 2016 MLS Regular Season for the New York Red Bulls, it is now time to look back and see how everyone fared over this past season. Here is part one of a two part feature that will break down the grading.
Part one will cover the defense and goalkeeping.
New York Red Bulls 2016 Regular Season Grades: Part One
Justin Bilyeu: N/A
Bilyeu only made three MLS appearances for the Red Bulls this season. Combined with a few CONCACAF Champions League games, Bilyeu just did not see enough time for a distinct grade to be given.
Sal Zizzo: D
It wasn’t a great season for Zizzo. While he did make 28 appearances in MLS play, Zizzo only managed two assists in that span. Towards the end of the season, Zizzo saw very limited time and his play was more often than not poor. One wonders if Zizzo will be returning to the team next season.
Connor Lade: B
A season that was cut short way to soon, Lade was in the midst of having the best season of his career. In the time he was healthy, we saw nothing but great things from Lade. Making 18 appearances and starting 15 of them, Lade had all but taken the starting left fullback job. He scored his very first goal of his MLS career this season and tacked on one assist. An unfortunate ACL injury, however, will have him sidelined until the 2017 season. Lade’s defensive play improved tremendously this season and the Red Bulls surely miss him. Next season can surely be another great season for Lade.
Kemar Lawrence: C
Coming off a great 2015 season, much was expected from the Jamaican international. However, injuries and the great play of Lade made Lawrence’s time early in the season limited. After the injury to Lade, Lawrence once again found himself as the starting left fullback. Making 21 MLS appearances, Lawrence was often solid with his defending. However, for every solid performance for Lawrence there were quite a good amount that weren’t so pretty. Many times, Lawrence struggled with high talented wingers and was pretty dreadful going forward. More often then not Lawrence found himself in a great attacking position, however his crossing this season was most certainly sub par.
Gideon Baah: N/A
There was certainly a lot of hype surrounding the arrival of Baah. However, injuries plagued and ultimately cut short his first season in New York. Baah made only nine MLS appearances for New York this season.
Chris Duvall: B
It was a great comeback season for Chris Duvall. Coming off a season-ending injury in 2015, Duvall came back stronger then ever. Appearing in 25 matches and starting 20 of them, Duvall has been great for the Red Bulls who have been plagued with the injury bug in their back line. Having two assists this season, Duvall shows very good skill in defending and when pushing forward.
Damien Perrinelle: C+
2016 was a bit of a rough one for Perrinelle. Coming off an injury that took him out for eight months during the 2015 postseason, Perinelle struggled to find his former form. Once he seemed to start to find it again, another injury set him back again. Despite an injury riddled season, Perrinelle has still had some bright spots this season.
Ronald Zubar: B
Zubar was a rock in the back for the Red Bulls this season. When he and fellow French International Aurelien Collin were a center-back pairing, the Red Bulls were almost impossible to take three points from.
Aurelien Collin: A
The man who many are calling the savior of the Red Bulls season. When the Red Bulls acquired him in a trade from Orlando City SC, their fortunes immediately turned. Since his arrival in late April, New York has only lost a total of three times. Adding two assists to his season as well Collin was clearly the best defender for the Red Bulls, maybe in all off MLS as well.
Luis Robles: B
Robles deserves a ton of credit for the season he had. Finishing the season with the most shutouts in the MLS is impressive enough. It is more impressive when you realize he was playing with a different back line in front of him seemingly every other week. Robles once again continues to be the Iron Man for the Red Bulls, playing 34 out of 34 MLS matches for the fourth season in a row.