The 23-year-old Argentine, who signed in the offseason after a lengthy process, impressed. He scored a second-half goal — his first in Major League Soccer — and was the attacking force the Red Bulls expected when they paid a club-record $6.25 million transfer fee to Club Atlético Huracán for his services.
Back at training after Saturday’s 3-1 win, Kaku’s growth continued session after session.
“I think he’s only getting better,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said after training Wednesday. “It’s still just, I think, starting to grow into the group. Even today watching training, his reactions and understanding of what the requirements are within our team are growing every today. Today he was again fantastic.”
Kaku plays the same position once occupied by former captain Sacha Kljestan, who the Red Bulls traded to Orlando City SC after a productive three years with the club in which he became one of the top playmakers in the league with 51 regular-season assists.
But Kaku, according to Marsch, brings a more diverse skill set to the No. 10 role than the 32-year-old Kljestan.
“Sacha’s output was often in pure distance, but not as much in explosiveness,” Marsch said. “Kaku has both. He can run and cover a lot of ground and he has short bursts that are explosive, can close things down and cover ground when he needs to get into the attack.”
As impressive as Kaku was Saturday, Marsch said that will only improve as he continues to integrate himself with the group and become more comfortable with his new teammates.
“Literally every day it gets a little bit clearer and fits a bit better and he understands the relationships he has with the players around him,” Marsch said. “It’s natural that it take some time and now his fitness is good, his clarity is good, he’s learning English. I think in every way he’s acclimating to what it is to be here.”
As for Kaku, he’s just soaking everything in. He’s thrilled about scoring his first MLS goal, but he’s been brought in to be a playmaker and that’s his favorite part of the game.
“Yes, that is what I want, and to keep giving assists, that’s what I like the most,” he said. “But to score at the arena was beautiful because the fans recognize you and I am really happy to be here.”
Listen: Jesse Marsch’s entire press conference after training