Remember Peguy Luyindula? Sure you do: he was a hero of the last two seasons, with a particular talent for coming up big in big games: the Shield-clinching, 2013 regular-season finale against Chicago Fire; last year's playoff run (the New York Red Bulls scored eight goals in the 2014 post-season; Luyindula scored three of them and assisted on two others).
And now he is...we're not quite sure. Nobody is quite sure. We know this because Jesse Marsch said so to BigAppleSoccer's Kristian Dyer, when asked for an update on Peguy's situation:
No, that is a good question. I don't know.
Even Jesse doesn't know what's up with Peguy. Back in early March, when it was announced the veteran forward-turned-playmaker was mulling retirement, "sources" suggested the matter would be cleared up very quickly.
It hasn't worked out that way. The club has issued occasional updates through the RBNY press corps. On March 18th, Jesse Marsch was in a patient mood, as described to BigAppleSoccer.com:
Listen, I've gotten to know Peguy and I like him. For him to be comfortable with however he wants to pursue his future, I'm supportive of it.
By April 1, the head coach seemed to be out of the loop (also reported by BigAppleSoccer.com):
It's kind of weird, there hasn't been much of anything and I'm not really hiding anything either.
One would assume, of course, both RBNY and Luyindula himself have a very clear sense of what has happened since we were told he was taking a little time away from the team to consider his future. It's just that the club has stopped even pretending to comment on the situation, and Peguy's opinion remains elusive.
Indeed, this matter has been unresolved for so long, it might be fair to start being concerned about Luyindula's well-being. Is he OK? The club is asking us to believe that a player under contract is essentially allowed to decide whether he wishes to honor that contract without any hard feelings or repercussions. Peguy has done a great deal for RBNY, and certainly deserves respect and understanding: maybe the Red Bulls are a remarkably compassionate employer.
Right now, however, the concern is simply for Luyindula: is he alright?
Fortunately, evidence has emerged to suggest he is absolutely fine. A recent Facebook post by SoFive Soccer Centers shows Peguy smiling with some familiar faces:
Hey all! Here are the pics of Sofive's first center Grand Opening!! It's just the beginning ;) Special thanks to the New...Posted by Sofive on Friday, May 15, 2015
Per the Facebook post, that image is from the Grand Opening of the SoFive facility in Carlstadt, NJ. Good to see Peguy is still around, still connected to the Red Bulls (judging by the teammates present) and still supporting local soccer.
In point of fact, as reported by Kristian Dyer for Metro (no relation) back in October, Luyindula should be supporting this particular iteration of local soccer: he is an investor in SoFive Soccer Centers.
So Peguy appears to be OK. His investments continue to prosper, he's still in touch with at least some teammates, so perhaps it doesn't matter that RBNY management has lost touch. Will we ever see him in a Red Bulls jersey again? Seems unlikely. But at least we know he's still around.
Don't be a stranger, Peguy. Maybe when this whole baffling saga is wrapped up, you can stop by Red Bull Arena and give us the chance to say thank you. For this majestic pass:
For reading Titi's mind at exactly the right time, and making it count:
But mostly for this game and everything you did to secure that Shield:
All the best, sir. Drop Jesse a line to let him know you're OK, when you get a chance.
(h/t The Viper's Nest)