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Training report: Fredrik Gulbrandsen is "ready to go", not really fazed by anything

Though he's had a lot of new things thrown at him in his first week with RBNY, Fredrik Gulbrandsen isn't easily unsettled.

Matthew Stith

There must be something that causes Fredrik Gulbrandsen some anxiety, but the early impression he has given since joining the New York Red Bulls is that his default setting is "unflappable".

He made his first appearance for RBNY less than 24 hours after landing in America. He described that experience as "a little bit stressful but it was good to get my debut."

As he approached the end of his first week with the Red Bulls, he was quizzed by reporters after training about his thoughts on several subjects.

Further comment on that whirwind first day?

"It's good to get started as soon as possible. Now I feel a little better, been training with the team and get to know the guys a little better - so yeah, ready to go."

Feelings about playing for a new team? He got that question after his RBNY debut: "Not so new because I played for Red Bull Salzburg before, but it was good to come on and to see the team and to see the guys play, it was good."

When a similar question was posed later in his first week with the team, he was still feeling more or less at home in the RBNY set-up: "They are also a really high pressing team, they like to go high and to press high, so it is similar to what I am used to - so yeah, I think it's easy for me to adapt to the team."

Thoughts on the travel demands of MLS as he readies to take a long flight to Seattle?

"It's normal here, not so normal in Austria or in Norway...but I think it's going to be OK. It's no problem."

Indoor practice on the New York Jets' training field, market out for NFL play?

"A little confusing but it was a really nice facility and yeah, great - so everything was good."

How about why he joined RBNY at all? A question that invited some comment on his fall from grace at Salzburg and any frustration at having to move teams to find minutes less than a year after joining the Austrian side of the Red Bull family.

Gulbrandsen didn't take the bait: "The main reason was that it's a team that fights for the championship and wants to win, and I also want to win. I want to come here to help the team to win and fight together with them. And I also had some good conversations with Jesse [Marsch] and he really wanted me here, and that was a good feeling for me to hear from him. So yeah - just fight and want to win things, that's why I'm here."

Perhaps he hopes to revive his national team ambitions with a good stint in MLS?

"Maybe, I don't think going to America has been a good thing for the national team, because I saw last year Ola Kamara, he did great in this league and he was not even called up now, so I don't know. But that's not what I'm thinking about. The most important thing is to do well with the Red Bulls and we'll see."

Despite ample opportunity to voice understandable frustration, nerves, or concerns - Fredrik Gulbrandsen gives the sense that he keeps things simple. He's a soccer player who wants to play soccer, winning soccer. Everything else is a detail that need not be distracting.

If anything, it seems most likely that if RBNY doesn't keep him busy, he'll settle in for a nap until called upon.

Fortunately, it appears RBNY intends to keep him busy. Head coach Jesse Marsch has already stated he thinks Gulbrandsen could start for his team as soon as the Sounders game on March 19. He made that point again to reporters after the Red Bulls' last training session before flying out to Seattle:

I think he fits in great and I think the transition will be almost immediate. We used him a little bit up top today with Brad on some things and it looked great. I think those two have real potential to be a good pairing, so we have a decision on whether we want to use him from the start or have him come off the bench. But I think now having him in a week of training, and even talking to him - I think he sees a lot of similarities and I think again his integration will be pretty smooth. We'll evaluate whether we use him from the start.

Fredrik Gulbrandsen is calm, confident, and ready to play. It looks like RBNY is ready to play him. And not just for a few minutes at the end of a lightly-attended home game as was his debut, but perhaps in a significant role at a packed and frenzied CenturyLink Field, where the crowd will be firmly behind its beloved Sounders and yet-to-win-in-2017 Seattle will seek to truly launch its MLS Cup defense with victory in its home opener.

Judging by his response to almost every question he's been asked since he arrived at RBNY, that challenge will be just fine with Fredrik.