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Red Bulls Expert Guide: October 11, 2021

Patryk Klimala settles in, Fredrik Gulbrandsen keeps it low key, and Teemu Tainio works blue in this week’s links

SOCCER: MAR 25 MLS - Real Salt Lake at NY Red Bull
Fredrik Gulbrandsen has leaped to new heights since returning to Europe from New York.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Once A Metro Red Bulls Expert Guide: October 11, 2021

Welcome to the Red Bulls Expert Guide presented by Once a Metro.

The other day I made hotteok (a sort of cheesy potato pancake). First, you have to boil the potatoes. Then, you mash them. Next, potato starch (or rice flour, tapioca flour, etc.) and spices are mixed in, before some cheese is placed in the middle. Finally, the shaped dough is placed in a frying pan (or oven). They taste… okay. I’m not sure the time and effort is worth what ultimately provides the same enjoyment as a baked potato with cheese.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Patryk Klimala is pissed off… about his time at Celtic. The Polish striker was annoyed at the lack of playing time in Scotland, which is understandable because attacking midfielder Ryan Christie was receiving minutes over him. He “never complained” because that is not in his nature, although did infer a lack of trust from manager Neil Lennon.

The MLS tenure is clearly going much better. “I am completely happy right now, but when I left Glasgow I was sad,” Klimala told Football Scotland. “When I went to Celtic I thought I’d be a big striker in Scotland, but I wasn’t. I didn’t play enough to prove myself to fans, coaching staff, and everyone around me. I want to score goals to help the team, but now I’m happy and I know my move was good. You can see it on the field with how I’m playing now. I feel so comfortable with this and I’m enjoying playing for [the] New York Red Bulls.”

Many players never find their place in the world. There are a lot of clubs, and careers only last for so long. At 23, Klimala appears to have found the right environment to continue growing and ideally thrive.

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Recent signing Issiar Dramé made his debut, playing 34 minutes in a 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Independence. The 22-year-old played decently but was pulled out of position and a touch too slow on a few instances. As head of sport Kevin Thelwell said recently, the Frenchman “has gone through a long period where he hasn’t been training with a team,” a victim of visa issues.

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At least one Red Bull team is getting a new training facility.

Bragantino revealed the designs for a massive 157,000 square-meter complex in Atibaia. The opening is “scheduled for December 2023.” Included will be eight fields (one mini-stadium, two with synthetic grass), space for all academy and reserve teams, dining rooms, a press room, two gyms, a track, study rooms, a library, an auditorium, a leisure room, and “other necessary support areas.”

The club currently rents a training center in the city of Bragança Paulista for the first-team and an additional facility in Jarinu for the women and youth. The Estádio Nabi Abi Chedid is also due for an upgrade, said to be “transformed” from a stadium into an arena. Bragantino certainly has drawn the attention of Red Bull, not requiring the previously imagined multi-year program and instead thriving in the league, Copa Sudamericana, and transfer market.

I wonder if an upgrade for New York is still in the cards.

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Marketing coordinator Kaitlynn Wall spoke with the Monmouth (University) Sports Industry Club. She discussed day-to-day duties and the responsibilities of her position. For example, did you know different aspects of the experience are highlighted based on the Red Bulls’ form?

“When the team is doing well it’s honestly so easy to advertise the team,” Wall told interested students. “Everyone wants to come out and see a winning team. You know, just highlighting the players and the team, it’s pretty simple. On the opposite side, when we’re on a losing streak, which unfortunately we did experience this year, it’s a little bit tougher. So it’s not really focusing on the outcome of the game and the players but more what we do differently than anyone else in the market – our BULLevard, our fan atmosphere. We’re a soccer-specific arena…really taking advantage of that and showing the fan experience in our ads…you want to highlight those little moments.”

The whole talk is fairly interesting for those who are interested in the club’s marketing, a constant topic in online discussion.

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That’s not a drumbeat you hear. It’s the sound of Jesse Marsch pounding his chest after a 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened VfL Bochum. The manager is attempting to implement some new tactics in Germany, which can be a tough climb.

“I’m sorry if I say it that way, but, in Germany, a coach often says something and the player says, ‘Okay,’” Marsch told Bild. “My style is different. We talk about everything to find out what is important for the group in order to be top… [I’m] 100 percent sure that this is the best way, but it is new for many players… For me, not only 11 players are a team. I want to develop the whole squad, the whole club, everything that goes with it.”

He certainly does not lack confidence. Reinforcements are also deemed unnecessary, which should comfort the players. Marsch set the season goal as qualifying for the Champions League, with the long-term aim of winning a trophy.

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Everyone’s favorite former Red Bull, Fredrik Gulbrandsen, received a massive profile in Adresseavisen, a regional publication in Trondheim, Norway that is published every day except Sunday [Editor’s note: Weird.]. He discussed his past, his present at İstanbul Başakşehir, and his future. The midfielder is quick to caution that footballers are no different than you, dear reader.

“People may see nice houses, cars, and things like that, but the most important thing for me is family,” said Gulbrandsen. “I try to be as down to earth and nice as possible, as my mother has taught me. Of course, you have several opportunities, but we are ordinary people like everyone else.”

With a contract set to expire in June, he and his fiancée appear to be looking ahead. “I’m open to anything, really,” shared the 29-year-old. “I have not talked to the club about the future yet. I’m at an age where I should be at my best in terms of football… But I thrive here… I will always look for the total package: playing time, level, place, salary… Then the most important thing will be playing time.”

A return to the Norwegian Eliteserien could be on the table but with certain restrictions. His wife-to-be consents to living in Lillestrøm, but he is not allowed to play for the club. As she says, Molde is better.

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I’ve received at least a dozen calls and emails begging for an update on the career of Jean-Claude Billong.

The former Red Bulls U-23s defender is still adjusting to life at Clermont Foot 63, after joining the Ligue 1 Uber Eats club this summer. He’s made two appearances, starting in a recent 6-0 loss to Stade Rennais. On ten points, Les Lanciers (The Lancers) are at 15th in the table, comfortably above the relegation zone.

In happier news, the 27-year-old was named to the Cameroon roster for World Cup qualifying. Billong did not appear in the first match, a 3-1 win over Senegal. The second fixture against Mozambique is crucial as Les Lions Indomptables (The Indomitable Lions) attempt to keep pace with the Group D-leading Ivory Coast. Only the top team advances to the third round, setting up a titanic closing clash between the two nations on November 14th.

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Former Red Bull Joel Lindpere spent some time with the youth of Estonia. He trained with members of the SPIN program, which is “a sports-based prevention program aimed at young people in disadvantaged areas, developing their football and social skills.” Participants receive two training sessions and one life skills workshop every week.

“My best friends have come through football,” said Lindpere. “Thanks to football, I have visited 70 countries and seen life elsewhere. It has opened my eyes, made me learn languages, and understand different cultures. I recommend every person leave Estonia once a year.”

I, myself, practice this advice by never going to Estonia in the first place.

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Things could be better and things could be worse in Finland for Teemu Tainio. His club, FC Haka, is currently in the relegation round of the Veikkausliiga, six points above the drop zone with four remaining fixtures. He was none too happy after a recent “corona break,” also appearing to be dismayed by recent signings.

“Losers can always come up with a million excuses, but it is a dangerous road,” said the former Red Bull, with Google Translate perhaps not the most adept at working with the Finnish language. “Some of the players were very far from their level. We needed more legs on the field… We’re all in the same boat… but it’s true that the purchases have gone [poorly] so far... When I asked the boys in the booth who played well, not a single hand rose… Everything is still in our hands, but now a change of course is needed. If the game doesn’t improve, we’ll have to f*ck.”

There is still some hope that this season can be salvaged. A few more points to the good and Haka could be entered into the domestic Europa Conference League qualification tournament. That’s a reasonable achievable for both a club only two years removed from the second division and a manager at his first job.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Magdalena of East Brunswick.

My personal preference is that Tainio’s team waits at least three games to f*ck.

Thank you, Magdalena. Once again, I’m pretty sure that’s a translation error.

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