Ronald Zubar reveals defender won’t return to Red Bulls in 2017

For the second straight season, the New York Red Bulls will be light at centerback as the club prepares to kick off another MLS campaign.

[ MORE: The Red Bulls were right to part ways with Dax McCarty ]

Two season ago it was Matt Miazga’s high-profile move to Premier League powerhouse Chelsea, and now it appears the reigning Eastern Conference regular season winners will be without Ronald Zubar in 2017.

[ MORE: USMNT forward Boyd joins Bundesliga side Darmstadt ]

The veteran central defender announced via social media on Monday night that he won’t return to Harrison this season after contract negotiations broke down with the Red Bulls.

The 31-year-old spent two seasons with the Red Bulls after signing with the MLS side in January 2015.

Love only❤⚽ @newyorkredbulls @mls

A post shared by Zubar Ronald (@zubarronald) on

The absence of Zubar presents a great challenge for head coach Jesse Marsch and his side though as the Red Bulls begin a busy 2017 schedule that features both domestic and CONCACAF Champions League competitions.

Marsch’s roster currently features an array of experienced defenders, but without Zubar and Chris Duvall — who signed with the Montreal Impact this offseason — the Red Bulls will likely have to shift players around to make up for the lack of natural centerback options.

Aurelien Collin will likely be employed in the side’s 4-2-3-1 system as one of the two starting centerbacks, but the player that resides next to him is very much up in the air as preseason gets underway. Sal Zizzo, Kemar Lawrence, Justin Bilyeu and Aaron Long are all expected to figure into the club’s backline from the start, while Connor Lade and Gideon Baah continue to make their way back into the squad after suffering long-term injuries in 2016.

(Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)