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Once A Metro Weekly News Update: July 28, 2020

Kemar Lawrence considers hiatus from football; Gonzalo Veron takes his club to court; Anatole Abang’s newest chapter in Moldova

Independiente v Colon - Superliga 2018/19 Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Welcome to the Weekly News Update presented by Once A Metro. Want to stay informed on the comings and goings of New York Red Bulls? Want to see what former players are doing? Need a quick, digestible distraction away from your meaningless existence? You’ve found a home.

Let’s head into this week’s top story.


Tragedy struck Kemar Lawrence, explaining his absence from Belgian club Anderlecht. His brother passed away in June, and he is considering “taking a break from his football career.” “He is mentally exhausted,” but the club is giving him time to grieve and hopes he will return in the near future.

“We have an agreement with the player not to communicate on the subject,” CEO Karel Van Eetvelt told Le Soir. “Out of respect for him, I will therefore not comment. All I can tell you is that it is the human being who interests me in this matter. I hope that, humanly, Kemar Lawrence will lift his head. Football obviously takes a back seat.”


Ralf Rangnick is staying with Red Bull for now. Nobody would blame you for believing that the tactical genius sun king of all things Red Bull and gegenpress already completed his move to AC Milan. After all, The Guardian reported on July 6th that he “reached a deal to become the club’s new manager for the 2020-21 season.”

Rangnick was set to take over as manager and possibly sporting director. However, there was an issue, as Red Bull demanded compensation in the realm of seven-to-eight million euros to terminate the contract.

The move was stopped, with current AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli’s contract being extended. Rangnick was reportedly replaced as Head of Global Soccer by Oliver Mintzlaff, so it remains to be seen what his role will be in the organization.

Thankfully, any cultural desire for experiencing Italy’s la dolce vita can be sated with a trip to New Jersey.


Gonzalo Veron is reportedly a free agent. The Argentine Soccer Association ruled that the former Red Bulls attacker can sign for another club. According to Santa Fe Deportivo, he is “in conflict with the Avellaneda group due to lack of payment of salary for several months.” The 30-year-old joined Independiente on a free transfer in January of 2018, but struggled with injuries before moving to Aldosivi on loan.

According to TyC Sports, Veron paid out of pocket to terminate his contract with the Red Bulls. Independiente reportedly promised to compensate the release clause through his contract, but is now being sued for six million dollars.

No word on whether Jesse Marsch will be bringing Veron to Salzburg.


İstanbul Başakşehir won the 2019-2020 Turkish Süper Lig, closing out the season with a 3-2 loss to Kasımpaşa S.K. That didn’t stop the celebration for the relative newcomers winning the first title in club history. Başakşehir finished with 69 points from 34 matches, four more than second place Trabzonspor.

The club features one-time Red Bulls loan player Fredrik Gulbrandsen. The Norwegian attacker moved to Turkey from Salzburg last summer on a free transfer. He made 32 appearances across all competitions, scoring three goals.

More importantly than Gulbrandsen’s play on the field are his efforts off the field. Along with former teammate Ruben Gabrielsen, he purchased 400 tickets for Akershus University Hospital employees to attend a Lillestrøm match. “We talked together and we agreed to find an opportunity to do something for the club that we both love,” he said about the recently relegated LSK. “By buying tickets for employees at Ahus, we can help the club and at the same time honor the health personnel who stand on and do a fantastic job during this period.”

Due to the pandemic, Gulbrandsen was forced to postpone his wedding for a year. Once a Metro blesses his future nuptials and asks that fans refrain from immature jokes about prematurely breaking contracts.


Former Red Bulls midfielder John Rooney has signed with fifth-tier English club Stockport County. This past season, the 29-year-old scored 17 goals for Barrow as the club finished atop the Vanarama National League and earned promotion to the Football League. He was named club player of the season by the National Supporters Club and Bluebirds Trust and league player of the year by the Non League Paper.

Rooney is, of course, cousins with footballer Tommy Rooney who played for Vauxhall Motors in 2009.


Anatole Abang scored his first, second, third, and fourth goals in Moldova. In February, the Cameroonian striker joined Sheriff Tiraspol, winners of the Moldovan National Division league in 18 of the past 20 seasons. This season stayed true to form as The Wasps have six wins from the first six matches.

Here is the highlight of Abang’s first goal in a 2-0 victory over FC Zimbru Chișinău. The highlight starts at 3:32 and features a pretty nice solo run and long-range shot.

Abang netted a second half hat trick in Sheriff’s recent 6-0 win over FC Dinamo-Auto. Check out the highlights.

As we all know, Sheriff is located in the Transnistria autonomous territorial unit situated between Moldova and Ukraine. The breakaway state has a very complex and complicated history which makes it a fitting location for Abang.


Andreas Ivan is moving on from VfR Aalen. The 25-year-old joined the Regionalliga Südwest club in January following his August 2019 release from the Red Bulls. The former Romanian and German youth international made two appearances in the fourth division before the season was ended due to the covid-19 pandemic. Aalen finished in 14th place out of 18 clubs with 6 wins in 22 matches.

Now he’s free to commit more time to his food truck, Andreas Ivan’s Homestyle Pie Van, which does not exist because his last name is pronounced “ee-von.”


To close out this week’s edition of the news, local artist @aewsome outshined the entire fanbase with his interpretation of the latest big meme on the block.

Good work, Twitter user. Your impressive talent put a smile on my face and jealousy in my heart. Don’t do it again.