Tim Cahill didn’t leave the New York Red Bulls on the best of terms: the club started to brief against his commitment to playing for his national team, there were reports that Cahill’s demands for a contract extension were rebuffed, and his departure took a few months to resolve. - finally exiting with a bizarre quote about “fan activation”. And about 18 months after that he joined the Australian arm of the same global soccer family that inflicted NYCFC and its hyper-ventilating fanbase on RBNY. Fun times.
But Cahill was the team’s top-scorer and MVP in 2013: the star of the first trophy-winning team in RBNY history.
The circumstances of his leaving the Red Bulls did not damage the club. If anything, with hindsight, one might suggest he was more the victim of the Red Bulls’ desire to flip the script it had been following when he was signed: out with internationally renowned veterans, in with younger players willing to align with the team’s newfound enthusiasm for RalfBall. Picking a fight with Cahill over his desire to play for his country always seemed an odd choice for RBNY to make, since playing for his country had long been one of his signature causes. Perhaps the club needed to spark a desire to leave in a high-profile player who still had a year to play on his contract.
Ultimately, his presence was undoubtedly significant to the fortunes of the first RBNY squad to ever win a major trophy - the 2013 Supporters’ Shield - and for that deserves for his time as a Red Bull to be remembered with respect, if not affection.
His time as a Socceroo will be remembered with both respect and affection. He is the Australia men’s national team’s all-time leading scorer, and he will leave the international scene as the Socceroos’ most-capped outfield player. The farewell appearance he has been granted in this friendly against Lebanon will see him bow out one cap short of Australia’s all-time appearances record: he will win his 108th cap for the Socceroos; goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer picked up 109.
It can be expected to be a brief, emotional send-off: Cahill should get a few minutes at the end of the game to run out one last time in front of Socceroos fans on Australian soil.
Per livesoccertv.com, here’s where to find the game if watching from the USA: