Ben Mines (right) battles Diego Fagundez for the ball. (Adam Richins-USA TODAY Sports)
Having only one player over the age of 30, the Red Bulls are always going to field a lineup on the younger side this season.
On Saturday night the Red Bulls deployed a lineup in their 1-1 draw at the New England Revolution with an average age of 24.2.
With head coach Chris Armas opting not to use midfielder Daniel Royer, who at 30 is the oldest player on the MLS team, the Red Bulls certainly had a younger feel, for better or worse, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
“We put out a really young team tonight, guys,” Armas said. “In terms, some of it is aged based, some of it is MLS experience based. To play against their best team… yeah, at the end we were hanging out, but we went after the game and if we’re a little bit sharper on the night, both with and against the ball, I think there’s more out there for us.”
Seven of those players also had experience with Red Bulls II.
“Knowing that we were going to put a young team out there, if you just went around the field with Omir Fernandez, Ben Mines, Mathias [Jørgensen] gets a bunch of minutes, Patrick Seagrist, Manny Egbo getting his first start,” Armas said. “If you went around the field a little bit, you’d understand how proud we are of that effort to get a hard-fought point against a good team in their building.”
The oldest Red Bulls’ player was goalkeeper Ryan Meara at 29. The oldest field player was center back Amro Tarek (28), followed by Tim Parker (27) and Florian Valot (27).
As it turned out, two of the youngest players combined for New York’s lone goal – Ben Mines (20) and Omid Fernandez (21).
From one Bronx native to another, Armas told Fernandez that he and Mines they were going to be in the Starting XI earlier in the week, the midfielder said.
“We wanted to have a lot of confidence in practice,” Fernandez said. “We’ve found each other in practice and I guess it just happened in the game. We just wanted to go in with confidence. I knew I was going to get one. I just had to put it in the back of the net and luckily I was able to do that.”
Mines, who scored a goal in his first start for the Red Bulls in 2018, recorded an assist in his second start.
Needless to say, that goal went a long way for Fernandez.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to score in big games when the team needs it,” he said. “We wanted to come out and gain more confidence for the team to show that we can score goals. We have that creativity up top. I feel like it gives me confidence, but everybody in the locker room confidence to keep pushing and keep progressing.”