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Red Bulls Expert Guide: November 15, 2021

Catch interviews with Cristian Cásseres, Gerhard Struber, and Patryk Klimala as well as how Anatole Abang’s wedding captivated a nation in this week’s links

SOCCER: JUN 20 MLS - Whitecaps at Redbulls
Anatole Abang’s wedding has been a tabloid sensation in Azerbaijan.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

International breaks are great. Unfortunately, I am not given a break from writing the Expert Guide. I’m not sure why that is.

Here’s this week’s top story.


Cristian Cásseres spoke with Balonazos about his “dream season” with the Red Bulls. He complimented Gerhard Struber, describing the manager as having made “a mental change” at the club. The midfielder also weighed in on the debate over what his actual spot in the formation happens to be.

“My position, and how I feel more comfortable, is at the wheel,” said Cásseres (through the magic of Google Translate). “It was where I started to play as a professional. In offensive roles I had played as a winger and I also feel comfortable there, because I like to score a goal and step on both areas. That’s where I can do it the most. Capable I don’t touch it so much (the ball), but I must have peace of mind to wait for it to arrive and play from there onwards.”

He also delicately touched on the possibility for a future transfer. “Now I’m only focused on the team (New York RB) and the next matches with the national team,” said the 21-year-old. “I am enjoying the moment. Then the future will decide my destiny, in a few months we will see what happens, where I would have to go or if I have to stay here (United States).”

In the past, Cásseres indicated a hope for some day playing in Serie A, particularly with Milan. I hear Italy is lovely this time of year. I’ve actually never heard that but assume it is. Perhaps he will find out for himself “in a few months.”


Gerhard Struber sat down for a quick interview with Krone. Topics include the playoff qualification, described as “a battle of nerves” with every match “on a knife’s edge.” He even gave a little hint on offseason roster moves.

Carlos [Coronel] has grown rapidly and is perhaps the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer,” said the manager. “It is relatively clear that we have the option of another season with him. Youba [Diarra] was injured for a long time and is becoming more and more stable. My wish is that he too stays with us.”

Struber insists he came to New York to “play for titles.” He describes living near the city as “brilliant.” However, there is little time to take in the sites and trip the life fantastic with a crowded schedule.


Kevin Thelwell might be getting a very nice present next summer in the form of allocation money. According to Bild, Europa League regulars Arsenal have designs on triggering the £32,250,000 ($43,225,000) release clause of one Tyler Adams. There were links during the most recently elapsed transfer window, but nothing came to pass.

Adams joined RB Leipzig in January of 2019. Veteran journalist Ives Galarcep reported that the deal was for $3 million “along with a 33 percent sell-on clause.” The move was criticized at the time, but the long-term payout could make the meager initial return quite worthwhile.

According to the 2021 Major League Soccer Roster Rules and Regulations, clubs “may assign up to $1,050,000 of the transfer/loan revenue as General Allocation Money.” The remaining balance “will be distributed by the League to the club as cash.” Since Adams was a Homegrown player, New York should receive “100% of the corresponding transfer or loan fee revenue.”

One million dollars would be a nice addition to the salary cap. The rest of the money should be used to improve the club. Perhaps the new training center can include a moat or space observatory.


Speaking of the recently announced training facility, now comes the politics.

The Morris Township Committee introduced “a zoning change ordinance” during a virtual meeting, according to the Morristown Green. Committeeperson Cathy Wilson described the proposal as “having a lot of merit for [the] community.” Deputy mayor Mark Gyorfy stated that the sporting complex is “preferable to five office buildings.” The local zoning code must be amended in order “to create a nonresidential overlay district.”

Local residents have multiple chances to make their voices heard. The Red Bulls are hosting a public meeting on November 17th at the Westin Governor Morris. Following that forum, there are hearings on the zoning ordinance scheduled for December 2nd and December 8th. Key dates also include November 29th, which promises an all too exciting “master plan amendment and review of zoning ordinance for master plan consistency.”

This process is expected to extend into 2022, leaving more than enough time for the scheduled construction completion date in 2024. Township Committee and Planning Board meetings are available to watch online. Those interested in local politics – and who wouldn’t be? – should hop on over to for viewing links.


In September, Patryk Klimala appeared on the POLACY POD LUPĄ (Poles Under the Screening) published by Kanał Sportowy (Sports Channel). The striker made the decision to move to MLS with “a snap of [his] fingers,” believing the Red Bulls would aid his development, after gaining “peace and experience” at Celtic. He has enjoyed the move and sees New York as a step in the right direction.

“We are focused on a counter-attack,” said Klimala (via Weszlo). “The players want to play football on me, and I have to run behind the back line. This is my main task. It’s our best weapon, but we don’t have positional attack problems either. We have the quality that we can do it with the top teams. We proved it in the New York City derby.”

I’m sure the entire interview is fascinating. Unfortunately, this particular YouTube video fails to provide a closed captioning and translation option. Those interested Polish speakers should click the video link and skip right on ahead to 1:00:37 to watch.


I doubt you were, but don’t count on the arrival of Sebastián Sosa Sánchez. The striker wishes to stay at Patronato, enjoying the passion of the fans. His representative, Rafael Monge, informed La Cábala that negotiations are reaching a climax.

“I am going to meet with the people of [Patronato] next week to define the Seba issue,” he told the Argentine outlet. “The [club] has no choice. Sebastian is going to stay in gratitude to the club. I have no secrets or anything… The [club] has no option or anything, but we are going to renew it out of gratitude to the club, obviously as long as the conditions are met but everything is on track… We have a very good vibe… We have not talked about numbers yet but we are on good terms and grateful.”

Sánchez’s contract is over in December, although he won’t be a free agent for long, if at all. The striker is enjoying a career year, with nine goals this season in all competitions. Despite Patronato’s struggles, the 27-year-old is likely looking for some stability in his career. According to Olé, the club is determining whether to “buy a percentage of his contract or renew for one more year.”


While second divisions don’t always adhere to international windows, KVC Westerlo was off this week. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find a fun little tidbit about David Jensen. Despite already living in the Netherlands for several years while playing at Utrecht, the Danish goalkeeper is taking lessons in Dutch with his teammates.

And, of course, “Heeft de lening van David Jensen een aankoopoptie?”


Kaku was set to play a key role in Paraguay’s upcoming World Cup qualifier against Colombia. Unfortunately, the midfielder reportedly received a positive coronavirus test which may prevent his inclusion. More concerning is that he has been pictured recently on the team bus, which could cause some short-term problems for the squad.

Kaku also spoke with Goal, providing a little background on his interesting move to Al-Taawoun. “I was in contact with many clubs at the beginning,” said the 26-year-old. “I was familiar with the Saudi League… I was about to move to a Turkish club, and there were negotiations with another team in Spain… I adapted quickly [to Saudi Arabia], and I think the team made me feel very comfortable from the start. That’s why I can give my best on the field.”

He always keeps things interesting.


Things could be better at Barnsley. The Tykes are in second to last place, and relegation from the Championship appears a real possibility. Clubs are always rising and falling in England.

The latest departure is assistant coach Tonda Eckert. Barnsley hired the 28-year-old in August of 2020, shortly before Gerhard Struber moved to the Red Bulls. He continued to work at the club under Valérien Ismaël and Markus Schopp.

The German has a history with Struber. “We [Gerhard and I] worked together at Salzburg, when he was the under 16s coach,” Eckert told the Barnsley official website last year. “I was working with the under 18s. So we had one year together in Austria and kept in touch for the last three years. It’s been a pleasure working with him… With me working for Red Bull and knowing their style of play is a very interesting combination together with Barnsley.”

Eckert shared “a big office” with Struber at Salzburg, while also rubbing shoulders and having “a few chats about football” with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Rose and Thomas Letsch of Vitesse Arnhem. That’s quite the resume for such a young coach with over a decade of experience. He sure sounds like a fit for a club that pursues the upwardly mobile and could have an assistant position open.

With Bradley Carnell interviewing around the greater Midwest, could a reunion be in the cards? If Eckert joins the Red Bulls, please remember to cite this post. If he does not, we will simply never acknowledge its existence.


The struggles of Amro Tarek continue at El Gouna FC.

The Egyptian center back suffered an injury in his first match at the club and missed the two successive fixtures. His hamstring injury could require another month of rehabilitation. He may return to training in three weeks, provided everything goes according to the medical team’s plans.


Former MetroStar Ian Hennessy is moving on from the University of Delaware men’s soccer program. After taking over in 2006, he claimed two Colonial Athletic Association Tournaments and made the NCAA tournament three times. Chrissi Rawak, director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation, stated the institution’s desire to find “new leadership.”

Hennessy played for the MetroStars in 1996, making eight appearances and scoring one goal. The 54-year-old was also on the books at Cork City, Boston Bolts, New York Fever, New Jersey Stallions, Connecticut Wolves, and Reading Rage. If the whole soccer thing gets boring, he can always fall back on his PhD in Molecular Biology from Columbia University.

That’s not a joke: Hennessy was a second-year graduate student when the MetroStars called. “I was still knocking the ball around but there was the realization that if a league did come around you weren’t going to make money and I needed to think about education,” he told 42 in 2016. “So in 1995, I enrolled as a doctorate student at Columbia University. Science was always my gig so I started studying molecular biology for my PhD in New York. Then, along came MLS the following year. They were looking to populate it with star players and people who were really, really cheap. And guess which one I was... I’d set up my experiments and then drive across to Giants Stadium.”

I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. There aren’t many doctors with over ten years of head coaching experience at the Division I level. Maybe there are. I haven’t really looked into it.


Anatole Abang and his new wife, Adelia, were featured on yet another television program. Their wedding was profiled by MTV Azerbaijan, a channel that offers “the latest music videos from your favorite artists and up-to-the-minute music and pop culture news.” A truly modern love story, the couple originally met on Instagram, trading messages when a Champions League fixture allowed the paths of the footballer and Miss Azerbaijan 2013 contestant to intersect.

Heading into the current season, Abang received criticism for not scoring enough. “This point also upsets me,” the Keşlə (soon to be renamed Şamaxi) striker said over the summer. “I will try to solve this problem. I also want to score goals. But in the end there is not enough accuracy. I trust myself. I know I have to score. It’s time to solve this problem.”

Responding to the self-critique, Abang has three goals including the recent match-winner to defeat Neftçi PFK, which is nice. He was also recently suspended for three matches due to “aggressive actions” against Zirə, which is not as nice. Keşlə is in sixth place with a 3-6-1 record. There are, of course, more important things in life, like being on television.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Ingrid of Livingston.

I wonder if Jesse Marsch was invited to the wedding.

Thank you, Ingrid. He probably wasn’t.


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