Tolkin is a bit of a silver lining in a dumpster fire of a season for the New York Red Bulls
Yes, the season has been dreadful for the New York Red Bulls for many reasons well known at this point: the lack of quality offensively, the individual mistakes in the backfield that cost the team some goals, Dante Vanzeir’s racism slur towards a San Jose Earthquakes player and the refusal of Gerhard Struber for not subbing his newer Designated Player right after the incident, all the negative consequences of the lamentable episode that happened at the Red Bull Arena. You can go on and on and on…
But, if there is one thing that Red Bulls fans are enjoying this season is the evolution of one of the most charismatic players on the roster: John Tolkin.
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The 20-year-old Chatham’s native left-back has matched the same amount of assists in 2023 compared to 2022 already, even missing two games this season. If last year Tolkin registered four assists in 37 matches across all competitions, the defender only needed eight MLS regular season games to accomplish the same amount of decisive passes.
Three of these passes helped the team to save a point after going down first (which has been a common thing in 2023 for Struber’s club).
Cory climbed the ladder🪜 pic.twitter.com/1pLYuh2QZq
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) April 30, 2023
The first assist of the year came on matchday 3 when the Red Bulls faced Minnesota United under snowy conditions. “JMi” crossed to the box, and Andres Reyes was able to equalize it.
The following week, the Red Bulls hosted the Columbus Crew. Again, Tolkin’s quality found Dante Vanzeir in the box to score his lonely goal while wearing the club’s jersey before being suspended and fined by the MLS after his racist episode.
Three matches later, in which Tolkin was sidelined due to injuries in two of them, the left-back helped the New York Red Bulls save another point at home against Houston Dynamo. Another perfect cross to the box found Omir Fernandez and then the back of the net.
Finally, JMi struck his magic again, this time at the historic Soldier Field. Another week, same plot, though. Chicago Fire struck first, and another perfect cross by the defender to Cory Burke scored another 1-1 draw (the fifth of 2023).
(Cover: John Perd/Território MLS)