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Red Bulls Round-Up: November 2, 2020

Struber’s assistants head for the exit at Barnsley, Cristian Cásseres gets another Venezuela call-up, and Armas and Osorio linked to new jobs among other stories in this week’s links

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC
Red Bulls midfielder Cristian Cásseres has been called up again by the Venezuela national team
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Red Bulls Round-Up presented by Once a Metro.

You don’t need a permit to read this post. You don’t need to pay a fee. Everyone is allowed to come in and enjoy Red Bulls news from around the world. Come one, come all. This is a table designed to seat everyone. Of course, it would be nice if somebody showed up, but until then I’m operating from a pillar of abundance and hope.

Here’s this week’s top story.


A manager will want at least a few of his own hand-picked assistants on the staff. To make room for new appointments at Barnsley, the recently hired Valérien Ismaël got rid of Wolfgang Luisser to add Joseph Laumann. The departing 41-year-old Austrian had only recently moved to the Oakwell in August of 2020 to join the brain trust of Gerhard Struber.

Luisser had signed a two-year contract with Barnsley, but obviously that’s no longer in effect. “I’m very happy that I signed for Barnsley,” he told the club’s official website in August. “I’ve known Gerhard since ten years ago. We worked together in the academy of Red Bull Salzburg and we always had contact during the last years.”

The former player managed the RBS U-15 and U-16 sides from November 2009 through June of 2011. Struber, of course, ran the club’s U-18 team from 2009 through 2010. It seems like they have quite the relationship, one that first inspired a reunion at Barnsley. There’s no sense in breaking up the party when it can switch to a new location.

Am I suggesting that Luisser will soon be joining the staff at the New York Red Bulls? Not quite and I’ve heard nothing. However, don’t be surprised if it happens.


While some may view the links between New York and its European sister clubs with skepticism, it can be a realistic pathway that players view as a future goal. In an interview with Conexión Goleadora on Venezuela’s Hot 94 FM, Cristian Cásseres discussed the national team and his future with the Red Bulls. The striker-turned-midfielder describes himself as a player who likes to attack while deployed in the 4-3-3, which is perhaps something the club should keep in mind.

According to the show’s official Twitter account (facilitated via Google translate), the 20-year-old came to New York “to work” and “to learn a lot.” Cásseres describes the club as a “stopover” from which he “could jump to Salzburg or Leipzig.” The opportunity to impress officials from Leipzig is ever-present as they are “always hanging around, seeing how the players work, and watching games.”

If Cásseres is going to impress other clubs, then there’s no greater stage than international soccer. He was once again named to Venezuela’s 33-player roster for upcoming qualifiers. La Vinotinto face off against Brazil on Friday, November 13th and Chile on Tuesday, November 17th.


The match against the New England Revolution was a very long time ago… or at least last Wednesday. The Red Bulls secured three points with a last-minute goal from Aaron Long. In case one wanted to go deeper into the tactics of interim manager Bradley Carnell, Adam Miller of Major League Soccer Analysis has you covered.

As has been less eloquently noted by others, the Red Bulls “dropped much deeper than usual” which “opened up spaces” for the team to counterattack. Brian White and Marc Rzatkowski were deliberate in their choice of when to press and rotated in tandem. Caden Clark and Jared Stroud made a huge impact by “frustrating New England in possession for the entirety of the match.”

Tactics writing tends to be a little dense and esoteric by design, but fans should familiarize themselves with the current setup and strategy. While a new manager is on the way to shake things up and implement his own system, an understanding of the high press will provide a base against which to judge future performance. How else would you impress fellow fans with observations like those presented in this blog, such as inverted wingers and strikers drop back in possession to create numeric superiority in a narrow formation?

You could also continue to be a lotus-eater. It’s your choice.


Another week yields another Ralf Rangnick article. This time, it’s ESPN interviewing the “Godfather of Gegenpress.” To cut to the chase, the highly desired manager and sporting director is refusing to commit to a new club, but he’s keeping his options open.

The interview provides a summary of his background, from 19-year-old coach and Helmut Gross disciple to the man many know and love today. For his next job, he is looking for the “three C’s: capital, concept, and competence.” Those qualities “were the foundation of Red Bull’s sporting success, paving the way for the development of players with quality and increased market value at a factor of ten.” Whatever club he selects needs to have a strong scouting department and a commitment to playing modern football.

In the article, Jesse Marsch describes Rangnick as “intense, really excited about new ideas, and very innovative.” The Salzburg manager describes his former boss as possessing both a traditionalist mindset while being able to “adapt to the younger generation.” One day they might face off against each other in the ultimate battle of master versus pupil. Perhaps it will happen in the Bundesliga, where Marsch was recently being connected to the job at Borussia Dortmund.


My big Saturday night plans of sitting in front of a computer and watching soccer were ruined. The 2020 USL Cup final between Phoenix Rising FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies was cancelled. The American public, frothing at the mouth for minor league soccer, was denied a gladiatorial battle contested between two rosters that are peppered with former Red Bulls.

Phoenix features José Aguinaga from Red Bulls U-23 and Red Bulls II and Joe Farrell who competed for the U-23s in 2014 and 2015. Tampa Bay is occasionally referred to by fans as Red Bulls III and has former Homegrown Evan Louro in goal along with Jordan Scarlett and Adam Najem on the field. New York continues to build champions, even if they achieve glory elsewhere… and those championships are of the conference variety.


What’s Ruben Bover up to? The midfielder who played with the New York Red Bulls from 2013 through 2015 is now with FC Andorra of the Segunda División B. Not only is the 28-year-old competing with the third-tier club, but he’s also the captain. It’s been quite the journey for a player who originally came to MLS due to having the same agent as Thierry Henry (and subsequent signing Bradley Wright-Phillips).

Located in the parish of Encamp in the microstate Principality of Andorra, Els Tricolors opened the season with three consecutive draws. Bover has worn the armband and played 90 minutes in each contest. After a globetrotting career that has taken him to England and the United States, it appears he’s found a suitable situation in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Since the Round-Up mainly serves to observe the often-absurd interconnectivity of life, it’s important to note that FC Andorra is owned by Gerard Piqué. The Barcelona center back is married to international superstar performer Shakira, who is perhaps most notable for performing at halftime of the Red Bulls’ post-takeover home opener against the New England Revolution in 2006. Keep an eye on the boys from Andorra because I’m sensing some Metro magic percolating at the Camp de Fútbol de Prada de Moles.


Did you ever wonder what sort of machinery is used to maintain the pristine pitch conditions at Red Bull Arena? That’s a silly question because of course you have. Well, wonder no more, fair reader. It’s not just Kevin Thelwell who likes to shop in England because the best groundskeepers and turf managers in North America are using Derbyshire’s Dennis Mowers brand equipment to keep the grass clipped and clean.

Dan Shemesh, director of grounds at Red Bull Arena, deploys the Dennis G34D cylinder mower which incorporates “a large-diameter eight bladed cutting cylinder to cater for a wide range of uses to leave a precision cut.” It features a sleek handlebar design for greater ease of movement and comfort. The equipment appears to be working because the pitch was named “Field of the Year” for 2018 by the Sports Turf Management Association. The club’s training facility also received certification for “Environmentally Responsible Management.”


It’s like Waiting for Guffman except instead of a Broadway producer, a club is waiting for its recently purchased striker. Anatole Abang has still yet to arrive in Portimão, as he is facing issues “related to entry documentation.” However, the situation should be resolved “in the coming days,” at which point the Cameroonian striker can join Portimonense.

His arrival will be not a moment too soon. The new club is a hair above the automatic relegation zone at 16th place. Despite the alarm bells ringing, the season is young, and Abang is still relatively so at 24 years old. It may not have been a straight line, but he arguably moved up the ladder from MLS to the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

At the current established trajectory, he’ll be in the English Premier League within five years after having been on the books at an additional 15 clubs.


Many men have found the meaning of life in Doncaster, England. Former Red Bull Josh Sims is the latest in a long line of truth seekers in the South Yorkshire city. The 23-year-old winger has one goal and four assists in five matches since joining Doncaster Rovers. The club is within striking distance of a spot in the distant League One promotion play-offs, largely due to the production of its prolific player on loan from Southampton.

Doncaster fans have fallen in love with their new attacker, hoping for a permanent transfer. It’s been suggested that he is “far too good for the third tier,” but, like in Chinese checkers, sometimes one must go backward to move forward. Southampton wasn’t the right environment, New York didn’t work out, but Sims is getting his groove back in a town that is the birthplace to Paddington Bear toys and home of the United Kingdom’s first and only split-level ice rink.


There’s an open MLS head coaching job in a major city that is going to attract some big name candidates. The LA Galaxy fired Guillermo Barros Schelotto and began the search for a new manager. One name that has already been linked to the position: Juan Carlos Osorio, who led a little club called the New York Red Bulls from December of 2007 through August 2009.

Fernando Cevallos of beIN Sports connected the Colombian manager to the role, supported by his previous stint in charge of the Mexican national team which featured current Designated Players Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Jonathan dos Santos. Additionally, the current Galaxy sporting chief Dennis te Kloese was the technical director for the Mexican national team program during Osorio’s stint as manager. Right now, Osorio is at Atlético Nacional and, according to Goal, rejected the Galaxy’s approach. However, his contract reportedly lasts through December, so maybe a date with the Santa Ana winds is in his future.

By some metric, Osorio is the most successful manager in Red Bulls’ history. After all, he’s the only one of 17 to reach the MLS Cup final. Where do I rate him in the club’s pantheon of leaders? Send me five dollars and I’ll tell you.


The Adelphi University Department of Athletics will be hosting its first “virtual speaker series” on Wednesday, November 18th. The free Zoom webinar will feature former New York Red Bulls manager Chris Armas who is a key figure in the school’s sporting history. He played for the Panthers from 1990 through 1993 and coached the women’s soccer program from 2011 through 2014.

In 2013, Armas was named to the inaugural class of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. As a collegiate player, he appeared in three straight NCAA Tournaments and was named an All-American Honorable Mention. He is also a member of the Adelphi Athletic Hall of Fame.

As for career prospects following his departure from the Red Bulls, Armas has been linked to the vacant D.C. United job. There are “many [coaches] under consideration” including Jason Kreis and Jill Ellis. It would be quite the situation if the recently fired manager left for the club’s oldest rival, even more notable if he returned the Black-and-Red to its former glory.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Dorothy of Montville:

Does E-ZPass work in D.C.?

Thank you, Dorothy. You’re a real spitfire when you want to be, and, yes, E-ZPass operates in Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington metropolitan area.


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