The New York Red Bulls are holding on to a piece of their defensive depth, signing Dylan Nealis to a one-year deal on Thursday.
The younger brother of RBNY captain Sean Nealis, Dylan overcame a groin injury that required surgery and forced him to miss more than two months of action to appear in 19 MLS matches this season. He played all 120 minutes in Game 2 of the Red Bulls’ first-round playoff series loss to FC Cincinnati on Nov. 5, a result which ended their season. It was the first time he played a full 90 since June 23.
Nealis, a Massapequa native and Georgetown product was drafted third overall by Inter Miami in 2020 before moving to Nashville in 2021. The right-back was acquired by the Red Bulls prior to the 2022 campaign where he and brother Sean became the 19th set of brothers in MLS history to play on the same team. He since has provided support behind defenders like Cameron Harper — who has split time between the back line and his natural midfield position — and Kyle Duncan.
Across two seasons, he’s appeared in 47 matches for the Red Bulls (30 starts) and recorded two assists. This season, he was a part of a back line that conceded the third-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (39).
“We are very excited to keep Dylan with the club,” head of sport Jochen Schneider said. “We have seen a lot from Dylan over the last two seasons. He made a big step forward in his development over the last year – on and off the pitch. We are happy to keep consistency within our backline.”
That success was the main reason why the Red Bulls made a 14th consecutive playoff appearance this year. However, a fifth-straight first-round exit has Schneider promising sizable changes throughout the organization.
New York has already parted ways with manager Troy Lesesne and defender Hassan Ndam.