New York Red Bulls: By re-signing Aaron Long, club ensures it’s keeping its best player

New York Red Bulls' Aaron Long (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
New York Red Bulls' Aaron Long (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

All offseason the New York Red Bulls have failed to do anything wrong and re-signing MLS defender of the year Aaron Long to a multi-year deal is perhaps their biggest move yet.

The New York Red Bulls and MLS Defender of the year, former USL Defender of the year, and USMNT Defender Aaron Long have agreed on a multi-year deal. Out of all the brilliant and sly moves the Red Bulls have made this offseason, this is perhaps their best one yet.

Right now, it is a tale of two stories for the New York Red Bulls. There is this interesting dilemma the supporters constantly face.

For some, the ever elusive MLS Cup, which the Red Bulls have never won as any brand of the team, is all the matters. That or bust. While I am personally one of those supporters who sees the MLS Cup as the most important, it does not blind me from the other side of the story.

Biggest takeaways from the Red Bulls' upcoming schedule. light. Related Story

The other side of the story, and the most relevant right now, the story that has been the theme of the offseason is that the Red Bulls are constantly making their supporters happy, despite never having won the MLS Cup trophy.

From developing players that are fixtures on the US National Team like Aaron Long all the way to seeing homegrown talent Tyler Adams be a regular starter now in the Bundesliga, the Red Bulls might quite literally all over the world.

I’ve told these narratives before. Their offseason signing of Mathias Jorgensen is brilliant too. Keeping Tim Parker, another elite defender was brilliant as well. The Red Bulls are currently preparing for yet another trip to the CONCACAF Champions League, a North American wide tournament. They won their third Supporters’ Shield.

Those stories, have been told. They are even archived on this very column, yet no move they have made has impressed me, nor do I believe will have a bigger impact than the extension of Aaron Long.

So, let’s get back to him.

It is difficult to argue that Aaron Long was not the Red Bulls’ best player last season. A season in which they broke countless franchise records and league records. It was arguably the Red Bulls’ best season ever in general. The anchor of that season was the defense and the anchor of that defense is Aaron Long.

Below is a really solid reference to add some credibility to what I have been saying.

While a big reason the Red Bulls may have a slight fall-off from where they ended last regular season could be due to the loss of Tyler Adams and help on the defensive midfield, a huge reason why they possibly could be even better is because of the returning Aaron Long.

He is a trooper on that back line and now that he has his deal, has experience playing in the national level, he is likely to only be better. In addition to more reps, he is pretty much going to be playing with the same team. Tim Parker is back and Head Coach Chris Armas is not much different from what he is use to, as the coach himself prepares for his first full offseason after ditching the interim title.

But, we know how solid Long is at the beautiful game. What this new deal does is help the club be better in the long-terms, as well as the know, a craft the Red Bulls have mastered. While another full-season in MLS could help skyrocket his value even more, after already having an excellent one, the Red Bulls have given themselves leverage.

That pretty much says it all. The current state of the MLS right now is overall fine. Teams are transferring player for record fees much like Atlanta United just did with Miguel Almiron. While MLS teams are also giving up the cash to acquire talent like Gonzalo Martinez, also of the five stripes.

Also, let’s not forget the amount of talent the Red Bulls have overall. Keeping talent around in the MLS is incredibly difficult based on the fact that most clubs around the world only see the MLS as a feeder league, or a retirement league. The best MLS players are often gone for Europe while players typically only want to come here once Europe is done for them.

While both of those narratives are changing, Aaron Long staying, at least for now, is a huge part of that narrative changing. The Rd Bulls have used allocation money to keep their best player around for a few more seasons at least.

Even if Europe does call, then there is the possibility the Red Bulls get a deal they cannot refuse and can use money to keep paying talent to keep around or replace him. It’s like the recent Kaku saga where the Red Bulls got him and won’t let him go for less than he is worth.

Long is an even better situation thought because the Red Bulls and their system has more or less created him. He has thrived at every level of this club and it is nice to see him return the favor. His value has been set and that only helps both the club and player.

While still having player like Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles, two of the longest tenured players in all of the MLS (Robles actually being the longest), Aaron Long is still the team’s best player. The club is built on defense and Chris Armas’ style is built on defense.

The Red Bulls will not have to worry about Long going anywhere for a while now. They can try to follow up on the best MLS regular season, maybe ever, with almost the entire club in tact and only some changes

That starts with Aaron Long and the defense. The Red Bulls got this done before it was too late. This is a move that helps them now, and down the road where they can choose to build around him or figure out what to do with him.

The best thing is, he chose to stay with the Red Bulls and re-signed. That should perhaps tell you everything you need to know about this club. They are successful for a reason. They are always one of the best teams in the New York market. Sometimes, not everyone is there to see it or notice it, but they always are contenders.

Re-signing Aaron Long is perhaps the biggest step they have taken in a while to finally having the piece they need to get over the hump and bring New York/New Jersey a league title.

The Red Bulls are keeping their best player from their best team. Things are great in Red Bull land right now. This club has given many reasons to come back or finally go to Red Bull Arena this season. They are doing what it takes to maintain success in this league, building like former champion clubs we have seen recently. Keeping talent around like Toronto FC or having a lot of it like Atlanta United.

dark. Next. How the New York Red Bulls constantly set themselves up for success

For the Red Bulls, as long as they keep doing this, eventually, things will take care of themselves.