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Report: Marc Rzatkowski says he is “very comfortable in America”

Just a throwaway line in an interview mostly about other things. Make of it what you will.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at New York Red Bulls Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Rzatkowski was born in Bochum and started his pro soccer career for his hometown club, VfL Bochum. He transferred to FC St. Pauli in 2013, putting in three good seasons with the Hamburg side before moving to RB Salzburg. With Bochum due to play St. Pauli on December 10, it made a lot of sense for to preview the match-up with a chat with a man who is close to both clubs. And it also makes a lot of sense that majority of Rzatkowski’s interview with Andreas Breitenberger is devoted to discussion of Bochum and St. Pauli.

But the final question was reserved for Rzatkowski’s present and future, rather than his past:

Your contract with the New York Red Bulls is about to expire. They played a good season. What plans do you have for the future?

Rzatkowski: First and foremost, of course, I wish to stay healthy. Everything else will be seen. I feel very comfortable here in America. What comes out at the end, you will see. In any case, I can still imagine a lot for the future.

It’s not entirely clear when this interview took place, just that it was published on December 7. On December 4, the New York Red Bulls announced that Rzatkowski’s end-of-loan option had been declined, implying the player will be returning to Salzburg. Perhaps “you will see” was just Rzatkowski’s way of referencing an announcement that RBNY had not yet made at the time of the interview - that he would in fact be returning to Austria to see out the remaining 18 months or so on the contract he signed with RB Salzburg in 2016.

He was a significant part of the RBNY squad that produced the best-ever regular season in MLS history.

He slipped in and out of the starting lineup all year, finishing with 33 appearances and 20 starts in all competitions. He was joint-fourth on the team in assists, tallying eight - the same number as Sean Davis. And he scored three memorable goals.

In March, he scored the go-ahead goal in RBNY’s 3-1 win over Tijuana in the second leg of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, effectively making the series safe for the Red Bulls.

In July, he pretty much singlehandedly won a game RBNY was losing to Sporting Kansas City with a second-half cameo that brought two goals and turned a 2-1 loss into a 3-2 win.

RBNY may have set the MLS all-time single-season points record in 2018, but also only won the Supporters’ Shield by two points. The exceptional year was made by moments like Rzatkowski’s match-winning miracle strike in July.

So no question that he can make RBNY better - he has done, repeatedly, throughout 2018. But it would be a surprise to hear anything other than Rzatkowski is heading back to Austria. He was reportedly earning almost $1 million for this season alone, and that is a lot by MLS standards: too much for someone who was a regular but not every-day starter.

The Red Bulls have given no indication that Rzatkowski should be expected back for 2019. If he is hoping to extend his stay in America, it will most likely fall to another MLS team to work that out. But he is surely the most successful loan signing RBNY has ever made from one of its sibling clubs.

Best of luck for the future, Marc. And thanks for being part of The Best Team Ever.