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Red Bulls Expert Guide: November 1, 2021

Interviews, transfer rumors, and Halloween fit checks in this week’s links

New York Red Bulls V Toronto FC Major League Soccer. New York, USA.
You still have a chance to see Jan Gunnar Solli play league soccer before you die.
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

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

If I was a sporting director, I don’t think it would be too difficult to sign an attacking midfielder. I would simply send a direct message to the player that says, “Are you from Memphis? Because you’re the only ten I see.”

Here’s this week’s top story.

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The “Novillo” speaks. Cristian Cásseres has an interview with Meridiano about his time with the Red Bulls. He discussed his increased goal scoring and how the club is putting him in a position to succeed.

“I feel comfortable playing six or eight, but I have also played winger for both bands in previous year,” the midfielder shared. “They have even used me as a 10, but this is because I like to be in the area and I feel confident to score... I am very happy with the growth I have had in these four years in MLS. Having 70 games in MLS is a very important number for a player my age. I have taken advantage of the opportunities and minutes to grow.

Cásseres, now in his fourth MLS season, has continued to grow with each passing year. Or should I say “shooting year”? He’s scoring a lot of goals.

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You may recall that rumor from a few weeks back involving Club Atlético Patronato striker Sebastián Sosa Sánchez. The Uruguayan recently scored a brace against Club Atlético Tucumán, securing a 2-2 draw. He recently shared his desire to stay at his current location, which is understandable considering his career has featured 14 different stops.

“I feel comfortable and calm here, and beyond the negative results, people show us an important affection and I value that very much,” the 27-year-old told Vamos que Venimos on FM Litoral. “The interests of other markets exist, but nothing concrete because they respect that I have a contract until December here and also the Board of Trustees wants to renew the bond. In that sense I want to make things clear. Personally, I would like to continue, I feel happy in this place.”

Patronato is currently at 21st in the Argentine Primera División table. More troubling, El Patrón (The Boss) is dead last in the three-season aggregate relegation table. If the drop were to happen, the vultures may descend and grab the more appealing players.

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Around a month ago, Andrew Gutman spoke to his hometown paper, The Hinsdalean. The left back discussed his injury, enjoying his time with the Red Bulls, and his plan for the future. He was quite complimentary of the current set-up.

“I’d rather be in a situation where you have high expectations as opposed to a situation where it doesn’t really matter whether you win or lose,” said Gutman. “I want to win trophies. The way New York plays really fits the type of player that I am: very direct, very aggressive, high intensity, and physical. I also wanted to play for a big market team.”

He also praised the fan base. “They don’t settle for ties or losses,” expressed the native of Hinsdale, Illinois. “That’s like a failure. They just appreciate winning.”

Gutman described the match against D.C. United on September 11th as “a really unique experience” and “something [he’ll] remember for the rest of his life.” He enjoys seeing fans with his name on their jersey, especially when children ask for his autograph. As for next season after his loan expires, “anything could happen.”

Speaking of anything happening, I wonder if Gutman will be available to suit up against Atlanta United. Loan agreements sometimes dictate that players cannot appear against their parent club. Someone should definitely ask about that, just not me.

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Red Bull Bragantino head of football operation Thiago Scuro appeared on Dividida, discussing the organization’s greater ethos. Many are familiar with the various tactical desires for players and managers. What I found interesting is the discussion on how much influence there is between ownership and the local front office.

“The main decision is in Brazil,” said Scuro. “There is, yes, the participation of some outsiders, mainly in choosing a coach or in signings that require greater investment. But the loudest voice is ours here, whether in choosing the players or the coach, because the [responsibilities] of making the club succeed lies with whoever is here. And Red Bull respects that and understands.”

There was also some information on the interconnectivity between entities. “Around the world, there is a process, a flow,” said the sporting executive. “So we have almost bimonthly meetings between the sporting directors, for example, from the clubs. The recruiting managers also have this type of interaction. They share practical information and athletes’ experiences. There is a global leadership that tries to connect these decisions and see what is best for the group, but there is good respect for the individuality of each club… [There is the] equal opportunity to consume information and knowledge from the inside, knowing how the coach on your side is developing the idea of the game, [and what] the coach of New York is doing and [how to] adapt this to Brazilian football in the best possible way. So [that] conversation is the type of exchange that we have on a daily basis [and it] is strictly technical”

Whatever oversight Bragantino is receiving appears to be just enough because the club is a runaway success. The upcoming Copa Sudamericana final against Club Athletico Paranaense promises to be one of the biggest matches in Red Bull history. I might watch, depending on what else is on that day.

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KVC Westerlo played giant-killer in the Belgian Cup’s Round of 32, taking down Royal Antwerp by a 2-1 margin. Unfortunately, David Jensen didn’t play in that match. Even more unfortunately, he did play in the 2-1 league loss to Koninklijke Maatschappij Sportkring Deinze. Neither goal was his fault, both a result of harsh and cruel deflections.

Westerlo is now 7-1-2 on the season, enjoying a seven-point lead over second-place Waasland-Beveren. Promotion is still on the menu at the restaurant that is the Belgian First Division A. The table should have a seat for Jensen, presuming his contract has an option-to-buy.

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Breaking a nine-match losing streak, Al-Taawoun notched the first victory of the season. The Cooperation defeated Abha Club, 2-0, with two goals from Léandre Tawamba. Kaku started and was substituted in the 82nd minute. His team is still in last place, but at least the first mountain has been climbed.

Remember those court and arbitration cases? That was fun. I wonder what’s going on with all of that.

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Everyone’s favorite Red Bull, Rafa Marquez, appeared on El Chiringuito de Jugones and discussed his career. Of particular interest for the Spanish program were his days at Barcelona. He shared the path that led him to Major League Soccer.

“I got injured in the Champions League semis against Chelsea, in the year that we won it in 2009,” said the former Designated Player. “After my injury, Pep started stopping picking me. I am competitive and I didn’t want to be on the bench... I spoke with him and he simply told me that he trusted others more and that I could stay there, but if I wanted to leave the doors were open and I couldn’t bear not being able to play in a team like that.”

Thankfully, the midfielder-defender went to New York and everything went perfectly. The club won multiple trophies, and the fans continue to celebrate his legendary tenure. Unfortunately, when Marquez listed his best coaches, Hans Backe did not make the list. I’m sure that was an oversight.

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Even Red Bull youth trainers make the news. Honduran outlet Proceso Digital interviewed Jonathan Osorio, who is “in charge of nine teams ages 6 to 13.” The 27-year-old coach immigrated to the United States but was forced to retire from playing after a serious knee injury.

“I am part of this project and being here, for me, is already part of my dreams,” said Osorio. “I trained players on weekends. I had up to 30 youth players. I was looking for a way to contribute something. I started recording the training sessions and then sent them to the Red bulls. They liked my work, and that’s when they gave me the opportunity. Now I’m a part of a great institution and doing what I like most: teaching.”

Osorio hopes to eventually return to Honduras for work. He would join a growing group that has experienced professional success after working in the Red Bulls Academy. Other notable names include recent Uganda national team manager Johnathan McKinstry and current Southampton goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes.

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El Gouna FC opened the season with a 1-1 draw against Ceramica Cleopatra. For most of the match, the Gounies were without the services of recent signing Amro Tarek. The former Red Bull suffered a “hamstring muscle injury” and was subbed out in the 15th minute. After some testing, doctors determined that he will be out for seven days, missing the Misr Lel Makkasa fixture.

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New Jersey 101.5 host Dennis Malloy would like to know why the New York Red Bulls are not named after the Garden State. The self-admitted “Philadelphia sports fan” criticizes the club for possibly being “embarrassed to call New Jersey home” and “afraid of what the country thinks about” the state. He also claims that the Red Bulls have “never even played a home game in New York.”

Far be it from me to get into the mud, but Mr. Malloy is incorrect. The Red Bulls have played home matches in New York. Four U.S. Open Cup fixtures were contested in the Empire State: three at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale and one at Columbia Soccer Stadium in Manhattan.

(Screenshot via NJ1015.com)

If you continue scrolling down past the editorial, there’s a pretty nifty how-to guide on making a Brooklyn (pizza) pie. One would think the website for a radio station that is “Proud to be New Jersey’’ would be teaching listeners and readers how to make a Trenton tomato pie instead of some New York foodstuff. I suppose life is a constant ebb and flow of petty hypocrisies, requiring people to selectively imitate the behavior of a lotus eater, lest the intransigent be overwhelmed by the ceaseless deluge of frustration.

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The hottest Halloween party of the season was in Oslo. DJ Solli was spinning on the ones and twos, making the crowd go wild. His costume was The Mask from The Mask.

The soccer player Jan Gunnar Solli (I’m told they’re the same person) continues to compete for Bærumsløkka FK. He recently appeared in a 2-1 victory over Bærum. These are truly crazy times in Norwegian men’s over-33 soccer.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Frederica of Phillipsburg.

I could never *mask* my feelings for Solli.

Thank you, Frederica. That’s a very kind sentiment.

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