Daniel Royer scored six times during a memorable July. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
No one has managed to deny Daniel Royer a goal in his last four games. Yet, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch has stopped the midfielder from one tradition surrounding the Austrian’s goal:
No more back-flip celebrations.
Marsch would like to have Royer healthy for the rest of the Major League Soccer season.
“I’ve told the team, I haven’t told him yet, he’s banned from back flips,” he told the media Friday. “We can’t have a guy getting hurt on backflips. I’d like to continue to have that discussion, that debate with him. So if he keeps scoring goals, we’ll keep finding ways to create finding celebrations for him.”
Royer has been the hottest player in the league recently, accruing six goals and one assist in four games (4-0-0) to earn MLS player of the month honors for July. He has tallied in all four matches.
“Listen, he’s found a great scoring touch right now,” Marsch said. “He’s been very effective in this new formation. We brought him here because we felt he fits how we play. It turned out to be the case. Feel really happy for him. He’s been in a good way. He’s performed well. He’s had a real good season. Obviously, lately he has performed incredibly well.”
The 27-year-old midfielder did not exactly get off to a memorable start in his MLS career after transferring from FC Midtjylland (Denmark) to the Red Bulls Aug. 3, 2016. He registered by a goal and an assist over three starts and six matches and 275 minutes before suffering a late-season hamstring injury that kept him out of the lineup until the second half of the second Eastern Conference semifinal playoff match against the Montreal Impact, a result that eliminated New York from the postseason.
“When I came here, there were a lot of things for me to adjust, the system, of the people, of the country, everything,” Royer said. “That’s always when you come from another country or another continent. I tried to improve every single day, the team helped me every single day, the coaches, the staff. Everybody was unbelievable to me.”
Then came the hamstring injury.
Royer said he had a good season with “a lot of recovery” while trying to get into shape and hopefully find his past form that allowed him to represent his native Austria at the international level (six appearances).
“I felt good and I had the full preseason,” he said. “I had a lot of time to adjust, time to fit into the team. It was really important that I got the trust from the coaching staff, even though in those periods where we didn’t play well. I am really happy that it paid off the last couple of weeks. But there is nothing achieved yet, so we have to keep going.”
Royer’s 10 goals find him one behind team-leader and striker Bradley Wright-Phillips (11) entering Sunday’s Hudson River Derby match against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium at 6 p.m. Sunday.
But before you start comparing Royer to BWP, don’t even think about it.
“Brad just said after the last game that now he had a competitor, but just as a joke,” he said. “I would never compare me with Bradley because he has done such a great thing in the last couple of years to score so many goals. He’s such a good striker. We play different positions, so I would never dare to comparing me with Bradley or even with counting the goals or something. He will score more goals than I will this season.”