HANOVER, N.J. – Gonzalo Veron did not even make the bench on Saturday, perhaps the latest sign that one of the most expensive players in New York Red Bulls history is just not a fit.
Signed two years ago for what was believed to be one of the highest transfer fees ever paid by the club, Veron started for the first time all year last Wednesday in a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. It was a rather unspectacular 57 minutes for Veron, just his second appearance in MLS play this season after a hamstring injury in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League derailed the start of his season.
He seemed out of sync and just not in-tune with his teammates. Ordinarily, this could be chalked up to coming back from the injury but he truly has never settled in with this team. It may not be his fault, however, as the player has quality but this might not be the right team for him.
Injuries, disappointing performances and perhaps more than anything, a lack of a true fit has killed Veron’s time with the team. He just doesn’t play the style and tempo of this team, a high-pressing and energetic group under head coach Jesse Marsch.
Put Veron on about 20 other teams around MLS and the pacey, attacking player who displays clear comfort on the ball could be a great fit and a starter. But on this team, form has been hard to come by for a player with just six starts last year despite being one of the highest salaries on the roster.
And following Wednesday’s lackluster performance in Kansas City, Veron was shockingly left off the gameday roster by Marsch for what turned into a loss at the Philadelphia Union. The midweek showing might have been the worst of his MLS career to date.
“I just felt that…and he felt…that the performance wasn’t good enough. It was partly due to fitness but partly due to now there is competition on the roster. And he’s gotta now establish himself,” Marsch said on Tuesday when asked by Metro about Veron’s benching. “He knows that we had a very clear conversation. He put a lot into training today. It’s the point now where with the group, we have a lot of players with a lot of options. And everybody has to compete for spots – that’s for every single guy.”
Veron was a midseason summer signing in 2015, coming from San Lorenzo, one of the top teams in Argentina. He was a rare signing from South America for a team that in recent years has found most of its players in the United States or utilizing strong ties in Europe.
In what is now his third season in MLS, he has 38 appearances with nine starts. Utilized either as a forward or on the wing, he has four goals and a single assist.