Remember Ernst Öbster? Former head coach Juan Carlos Osorio desperately wanted to sign him in 2008, but Red Bull Salzburg was unwilling to part with him at the time. The always reliable MetroFanatic has the details.
Metro went on to train in Austria, which had two side effects: Richards got injured on a horrific tackle by a player from the supposed "sister club", and new coach Juan Carlos Osorio fell in love with a left midfielder named Ernst Oebster. The Austrian youth international made his league debut at 17, but at 24, was deemed not good enough for Salzburg's first team. A loan, Osorio thought. Let's work with our siblings to get us a loan! Salzburg would have none of it. They would rather Oebster play for the reserves than help Metro.
So Osorio waited until the next summer, when Oebster was finally out of contract. Now free to move, he came over on trial, and told the NY Post that he "really wants to come to New York." And came he did.
The former left winger spent the 2009 season with the New York Red Bulls (the disaster season we never talk about) after transferring over from Salzburg. He made 5 appearances--3 in the league and 2 in the CONCACAF Champions League--and scored one goal. Öbster was released during the preseason prior to the 2010 season. He held no ill will towards the club and remarked, "I have absolutely no problem with [my release]. I'm happy. I am richer by a huge life experience. I would do exactly the same again. Not everyone gets the chance to play in New York."
Recently, Fussball Im Netz asked Öbster, former Seattle Sounders player Michael Gspurning, and current Red Bull Leipzig and USMNT striker Terrence Boyd to assess Major League Soccer. I used my considerable linguistic talent to translate these answers into English (okay, okay, I used Google Translate).
What is Major League Soccer like?
Every game is spectacular. The Americans are patriots to the extreme. Before each game, the anthem is sung in the stadium. All in all, it's really cool.
What are the major differences between European and American football?
The differences lie to me in the physique. It is played very physical.
How will soccer in the US develop in the future?
I am convinced that the football is developing rapidly. Particularly through the promotion of European stars who go there again and again. In the opening game between Orlando and New York City FC there were at least 62,000 spectators.
How does MLS compare to European leagues?
The MLS is comparable to the Austrian Bundesliga, I think.
How important is soccer in the United States?
Football does not have the role of elite sports types there, but has made a huge leap forward in recent years and will soon overtake the main sports.
Where do you see MLS in the next ten years?
In ten years I see the MLS as one of the top leagues in the world, because the interest is becoming more and more. Already many people play football. In addition, football is pushed by older stars, then what surely will attract younger players.
Ernst Öbster currently plays for LASK Linz in the Austrian Football First League (second division). He has scored 4 goals in 22 appearances for the club.