The future is Mines
Ben Mines wanted to clear up a couple of things about Saturday night. He was actually nervous, although he didn’t look it, and he didn’t need his mother to drive him to Red Bull Arena.
“I drove myself,” he said to laughter from the assembled media in the Red Bulls locker room. “I got my license like a couple of months ago, got a car.”
Mines was one of six Red Bulls Academy products to step on the field for the club’s MLS opener and he was the first to score a goal, tallying in the 18th minute.
Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch remembers first seeing Mines play in 2016 for the Red Bulls U-15 side.
“He would play out on the right wing and he was so aggressive and when he got the ball, he was so aggressive to go at guys and make plays,” Marsch said. “You could see that he was still trying to figure out the defensive responsibility part but you could see how gifted he was just with the ball on the move.”
Kaku impresses in first start
He is the biggest offseason signing for the Red Bulls and Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra was the biggest attraction for the 18,374 fans who braved chilly early March temperatures Saturday night.
The young Argentine playmaker didn’t disappoint in his first start, earning his first career assist on Mines’ goal and completing 68 percent of his passes over the course of 64 minutes.
“I’m very happy, I felt very well and to be honest the team had a great game,” Kaku said.
Kaku, who pressed Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson into a diving save in the first half, had a memorable first touch on the ball, nutmegging David Guzman in midfield.
“No, but I saw that his legs were open so I had to do it,” Kaku said when asked if he anticipated doing that on his first touch.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) March 11, 2018
Rivas revels Red Bulls move
Also making his first start Saturday night was Carlos Rivas, the 23-year-old Colombian who spent his first three seasons with Orlando City SC.
Rivas, who scored eight goals with the Lions, struck twice Saturday night, to make a big first impression on his new club.
“I’m really, really happy. I felt really comfortable,” Rivas said. “The team looks great and my teammates gave me the support and made me feel very confident. It’s a very different system to Orlando. I’ve been here for a little over a month. I’m trying to understand how the team plays. That’s the most important part.”