June 17, 2015
THE WAIT WAS WORTH IT
Zubar scores in more ways than one in his first game back with the Red Bulls
HARRISON, N.J. -- Exactly days 100 since he last played in a competitive match for the Red Bulls, Ronald Zubar finally got some game action in the team's 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night.
The long wait since he injured his hamstring in the season-opener against Sporting Kansas City on March 8 was worth it. Not only did he line up as a center back starter for the home side at Red Bull Arena, he scored the second goal of the fourth-round match.
"Well it's been a wonderful night for me so just to be out there today," Zubar said. "I mean I never thought about scoring, I dream about it to be honest, but that is not my job so I just want to get back and play.
"I've been out for three months so it's great to be in the lineup tonight and the plan was to play 45 minutes or maybe a little bit less. I feel okay so."
Zubar, who was replaced at halftime by Andrew Jean-Baptiste, certainly impressed his teammates.
"Well you can see he makes a difference," captain and midfielder Dax McCarty said. "He was a guy brought here to be a difference maker and be a physical presence on the backline. With him coming back, I think it gives our whole team a bit of a boost. Giving our back line a bit of confidence. Him and Damien have a good understanding. Both of those guys were brilliant in the first half.
"Atlanta didn't have a sniff at goal. Those guys were a big thing to do with that. Now our goal is to make sure Ronald stays healthy. He's a big part of this team going forward. It's almost like a new signing. We haven't even seen the best of him yet. Let's hope he can stay healthy and contribute to his team."
And speaking about contributing, Zubar did it in a big way in the 15th minute, slotting home a rebound of a Sacha Kljestan shot past goalkeeper Steward Ceus.
Zubar thanked head coach Jesse Marsch for never giving up on him.
"He never let me down," he said. "We were always really close, talk all the time, try to find the good way to come out of this injury so it was up and down, up and down. Sometimes I felt like I was really close and I wasn't so he helped me."