There are many different personalities in the New York Red Bulls locker room and one of the most low-key is Argentine forward Gonzalo Veron. But last Saturday in a 7-0 win over New York City FC, Veron showed plenty of emotion in scoring against his team’s rival.
After starting Wednesday night in a win over the Chicago Fire, Veron was a second half substitute for what is now being called the ‘Hudson Derby.’ He scored the sixth goal of the game and his first of the season, letting out a scream then pumping his fist twice into the air as his teammates mobbed him.
For the quiet, unassuming Veron, it was a rare showing of passion as his season begins to wake-up.
Watch out MLS, Veron might finally be read to take-on the league with full steam.
The Red Bulls signed Veron at the middle point of last year, blending him into the squad but rarely featuring their pricey new addition as a starter. It was a tough spot for Veron, a Designated Player who was coming into a squad on a tear. Head coach Jesse Marsch didn’t want to disrupt his team’s chemistry and Veron found a role off the bench for the most part.
He appeared to turn a corner in preseason this year, looking sharp and fit and active. Then a hamstring injury in the preseason finale was followed up by another hamstring injury a few weeks later in a win over the Houston Dynamo.
“I think in preseason I showed I was a bigger part. I think unfortunately, due to injury, there was a setback,” Veron said through a team translator this week following practice. “Now I’m working on my fitness and trying to be a bigger part of the team.”
If he can stay healthy, Veron could be a big part of this team.
He is comfortable with the ball at his feet, showing a good creative spark. There is also speed and a good work rate. His ability on the dribble, at full speed, is unique on this team.
Coming from playing in Argentina for the entirety of his career, the 26-year old Veron’s change in both soccer culture and also moving his family weighed on him last year. Now with a few months in MLS under his belt, he comes into this season primed to fulfill his obligation as one of this team’s higher paid players.
“The transition has gone along well. I’m very happy with my personal life, the teammates and my club. I’m very happy at this moment,” Veron said. “I feel comfortable in the front, taking advantage of my speed is something Jesse, Denis and I have talked about. One thing I want to work on is the tactical, the pressure, the high-press and how I fit into what they want me to do.”