Bover, Sam Make Their Cases in PreseasonBoth men are forcing Mike Petke to make difficult decisions
by Daniel Feuerstein | Friday, February 28, 2014
As always, the goal of having a preseason for a club that is always considered to be an MLS Cup contender is to get the chemistry back with the players and try to improve on the season that just past. With a Supporters’ Shield title, as well as entering a new season, that will be a bit more difficult than before.
But, at the same time, you also want to see certain players who were considered just a depth player or a substitute who looks ready to become a starter for the club when their names are penciled into the starting XI. Two players have shown their improvements so far and have shined.
Lloyd Sam was considered to be the replacement for Dane Richards at the right wing in the midfield. When former RBNY manager Hans Backe brought him over, he got injured. But when Eric Alexander was signed and asked by current RBNY manager Mike Petke to play there, he looked good.
Sam did struggle a bit with fitness at the start of last season, but had a great second half. Now he is attacking with confidence and his goal scoring has improved as well. At the same time, he is also coming back defensively and it looks like he just might unseat Alexander as the starting right midfielder for the club.
When Andy Roxburgh brought over Ruben Bover at the start of preseason, no one knew what he was going to do at RBNY, and at the same time no one knew if Petke was going to use him as well. He had several moments as a substitute in 2013 and assisted in the season opener at Portland.
For these last 2 preseason games against Montreal and Fluminense’s U-23 side, Bover has wowed the crowd and the coaching staff with 2 fantastic strikes that should get him picked as a substitute during those important times in the match.
His first monster strike came in the second half against Montreal when Sam laid the ball off towards him. And after a quick touch, he blasted the ball with his left foot and struck the back of the net, beating Evan Bush for a 2-goal NY Lead and showed his excitement on the field.
This time around it was a free kick chance that wowed the crowd at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. After Marius Obekop was taken down from behind, it would be Bover to take the free kick from about 23 yards out. And once Mark Geiger blew his whistle, the left footer caught the keeper cheating and bent the ball inside the near post and struck the back of the net.
Bover is truly making some noise, as he not only wants some extra playing time, but the Mallorca man wants to make a difference on the field. And at the moment, he is making his case down in the land of Mickey Mouse.
There is 1 more game for the Red Bulls to play in this preseason tournament, and then it’s off to Vancouver to play against the Whitecaps in their home opener. So far things are looking up.
NEXT UP: March 8 – Red Bull New York vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, BC Place, Vancouver, Canada. 7:30 p.m. EST, TSN.