Red Bulls notes: John Tolkin a game-time decision at Houston, forward group remains same

John Tolkin Red Bulls
BRADENTON, FL – January 22 New York Red Bulls working out in the gym at IMG Academy on January 22, 2024. (Will Vragovic / New York Red Bulls)

New York Red Bulls star defender John Tolkin will be a game-time decision for Saturday’s match in Houston against the Dynamo, head coach Sandro Schwarz said on Thursday. 

The 21-year-old missed New York’s season opener on Sunday, a scoreless draw at Nashville, due to a groin injury. He completed what Schwarz described as “70-80%” of the Red Bulls’ training session on Thursday to garner some hope that he’ll suit up. 

Last season was one of emergence for the Chatham, NJ native, who set a franchise record for most assists by a homegrown player and defender with 10. It earned him his first-ever MLS All-Star Game selection and call-up to the US national senior team. He recorded four caps (appearances) for the Americans, two of which came during the Gold Cup. 

Kyle Duncan filled in at left-back during Tolkin’s absence against Nashville and would likely do the same again if the rising star is unable to go on Saturday down in Houston. 


Dante Vanzeir Red Bulls
Dante Vanzeir (Photo courtesy of the New York Red Bulls)

Schwarz indicated that his forward pair of Dante Vanzeir and Elias Manoel will remain the same for Matchday 2.

The duo was unable to cash at Nashville despite a litany of chances that came with the Red Bulls controlling the run of play. Much of that has to do with the facilitating capabilities of new signing and captain, Emil Forsberg. 

Vanzeir and Manoel combined for five shot attempts but only one went on target. Vanzeir was played through on a ball over the top by defender Noah Eile where his lunging attempt chipped past the keeper, but hit the post and stayed out.

The Red Bulls have not lost a road match in its last five tries and face a Houston club that drew Sporting KC 1-1 in its season opener last week.

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