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Red Bulls Expert Guide: December 6, 2021

Making more sense of the New York-to-Manchester United rumors while Tom Edwards returns to Stoke and the new training facility moves further ahead

SOCCER: MAY 01 MLS - Chicago Fire FC at New York Red Bulls
Rumors of potential Manchester United roles continue to swirl around Gerhard Struber (second from right) and Bradley Carnell (far right)
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

The members of the South Ward should go caroling. Instead of singing Christmas music and other ditties of holiday cheer, the supporters can belt out their favorite Red Bulls chants and songs. I’m sure everyone would enjoy that.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Once a Metro editor emeritus Austin Fido once opined that the best way to learn about the Red Bulls is to read the foreign press.

Following the end-of-year roster decisions, Gerhard Struber gave an interview to Austrian outlet Laola1, discussing team strategy, Daniel Royer, and Carlos Coronel. The club is on a “young path” and “giving young players a chance,” attempting to “dynamically win balls” and be “dynamic… when switching” the point of attack. This, of course, puts the long-standing midfielder on the outside of the picture.

However, Struber provided a glowing review of his countryman. “It was not easy for us because I have grown dear to Danny, especially this year,” said the manager. “Danny was a player who met this club with unbelievable love, who has this club and the fans in his heart at the same time… Danny was an incredibly important support for me, even in times when things weren’t going so well for us… I am very grateful to him that he had foresight, also outside the box… He has leadership competence, which also suggests that he might go into coaching after his playing career.”

Struber described the exercising of Coronel’s purchase option as a “very clear and logical step.” The goalkeeper is an “asset” for the club, which would have been “very stupid” to not make a permanent acquisition. The transfer fee was “fair” and “a normal market amount.”

I’m sure the deal was as fair as the one New York gave Leipzig for Tyler Adams.

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With reports and stories all over South Africa of Bradley Carnell joining the coaching staff at Manchester United, perhaps this is an opportunity to look at how that would be possible.

The 44-year-old first met the Godfather of Gegenpressing while playing in the German Bundesliga. “When Ralf Rangnick came to Stuttgart, he kind of spoke my language, you know, things I was doing instinctively,” Carnell told Left Back Football in May of 2020. “I really enjoyed working under Ralf Rangnick and playing under Rangnick because he had a way about him, a good energy, [and] a way with people. We also were able to reap the reward of playing in the UEFA Cup (which was the Europa League at that point) and really excel pretty well.”

Carnell first came to New York on Rangnick’s recommendation. The two were in “constant exchanges” since they “reignited [their] relationship” in 2014. The next step is, of course, moving in together or at least working on the red side of Manchester.

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The process for the new training facility has taken a step forward.

The land which was once designed for “Office and Research laboratory” is now allowing “athletic training services,” following the Morris Township Planning Board approving an amendment. According to Tap Into, residents questioned “traffic noise, pedestrian interference, and whether building lights would get in the way of planes landing at nearby Morristown Airport.” However, these are discussions for another meeting, perhaps the public hearings which are sure to go well into the night.

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Tom Edwards is back training with Stoke City. The fullback has the opportunity to reestablish himself at the club of his youth, earning minutes for the first time in two years. His first potential match is against Preston North End on January 3rd.

I think there is an error on the schedule because I cannot find Preston South End listed anywhere.

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Nashville SC attacker Rodrigo ‘Loly’ Piñeiro had a serious interview with Último al arco on Uruguayan AM radio station Sport 890. He discussed his depression and anxiety attacks, claiming to have struggled in MLS while away from his family. His countryman, Red Bulls defender Lucas Monzón, provided support and “wrote to him.”

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Kevin Thelwell will be speaking at the ASD x MLS conference on February 12th. Other invitees include John Thorrington of LAFC and Zoran Krneta of Charlotte FC. The Association of Sporting Directors seeks to “create a working community of practice and provide support, connections, and development opportunities.”

That’s all well and good but perhaps Thelwell shouldn’t be invited. He is a head of sport. Someone with such a role has no business at a meeting of sporting directors.

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Despite only recently joining Llaneros in the Colombian Categoría Primera B, Carlos Rivas has already attracted a suitor. The 27-year-old striker is being chased by Independiente Santa Fe in the first tier. He has scored six goals in 17 league and cup appearances this season, including a brace in a brace in November’s 3-1 win over Bogotá Fútbol Club.

While we’re in Colombia, let’s check how Santiago Castaño and Deportivo Pereira fared in the Copa Colombia final against Atlético Nacional.

Ah, I see. They lost 5-1 on aggregate. Well, there’s always next year.

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The calendar may read December, but the Belgian First Division B title appears wrapped.

K.V.C. Westerlo fought off a fierce 10-man Royal Excel Mouscron to secure a wild 4-3 comeback victory. Following Waasland-Beveren’s loss, De Kemphanen (The Ruffs) are now a whopping 13 points clear at the top of the table. David Jensen had a rough day at the office, but managed to overcome his “clumsy” own goal to weather the storm.

The “easygoing guy” was profiled by Belgian television station RTV, discussing how “good” and “settled” his life is right now. “[I’ve] never been the biggest city boy,” said Jensen, answering a question that probably should have been asked prior to his move to MLS. “When I was younger, I lived 25 kilometers from Copenhagen in Denmark. I’ve never been used to living in a big city. I think this [Westerlo] is okay for us right now. You cannot compare this to New York. That’s another world. This is fine.”

At 29 and with the potential to play for another decade, Jensen is still working to improve his game, trying to become more dominant in the box and use his size well. He hopes to appear with the Danish national team but acknowledges the country’s glut of goalkeepers. After this season, there will be a “step-by-step” process to determine his next club, which could be affected by whether Westerlo achieves promotion.

So, things seem to be going well for Jensen and we can all learn a little from his experiences. If you don’t like where you are, go to Belgium. I’m sure your problems won’t follow you there.

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After being selected in the 2021 SuperDraft Lamine Conte never made his way onto the field for Red Bulls II but is still managing to make a difference. The midfielder-defender is interning for six weeks with the SWAG soccer program, run by Philadelphia-based private equity firm Graham Partners. Volunteers serve as “mentors and role models” while helping “vulnerable youth develop a passion for the sport.”

“These athletes will work with a mentor on deal sourcing and live deals, getting exposure to everyday processes in private equity, while adding our company name to their resume,” said CEO Steve Graham to the Philadelphia Business Journal. “We want these individuals to gain valuable experience outside of athletics, and an early foothold for future ambitions as they prepare to step into the business world... This is our way of helping them prepare for the next phase of their career and acknowledging their dedication to growing the game, serving as role models to children in our city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.”

Conte will also have the opportunity to learn about “private equity financial modeling.” At Louisville, he majored in accounting, so this opportunity is probably a good thing. I’m not sure what use any of this has for a gegenpress or whether the midfielder has secured the proper paperwork for next season but look forward to being surprised.

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Red Bull might have a little less pocket money.

According to Stern, RB Leipzig is currently the only first division team to play in an empty stadium. “It is definitely a disadvantage and it affects us not only economically, but possibly also athletically,” said CEO Oliver Mintzlaff. “You have to play big games in the empty stadium… We hope that we find ourselves in a fairway, which brings a bit more predictability in all situations.”

Local COVID regulations in Saxony are extended through December 12th.

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With little knowledge of the future, the past can at least provide some clues.

Digging back into some old interviews by Gerhard Struber, interesting parallels between his Red Bulls and Barnsley tenures emerge. “I said goodbye to players relatively quickly who didn’t jump on the bandwagon,” he told Kurier in July of 2020. “That was important to show how serious I am. I had to lead the team very tightly and closely.”

Across multiple articles, Struber disclosed interest from other clubs and demanded “more ambitious” goals from his employers. The Barnsley season was described as an “energy vampire” due to COVID difficulties and the relegation battle. He was “totally empty.”

The most recent Red Bulls season could be classified as trying, dealing with injury issues and a shortened preseason. While the playoff race has lower stakes than a relegation battle, the constant straddling of that line can be just as draining. Following the departure of several key players, the winter transfer window and 2022 schedule might need to produce immediate success, lest those other offers become more appealing.

You know, if there was interest from somewhere like Manchester or whatever.

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How about an incredibly dated transfer rumor? You don’t want one? Well, you’re getting it anyway.

In a recent interview with Foot Mercato, Dundee United midfielder Jeando Fuchs revealed that the Red Bulls pursued him in 2020. At the time, he was with Deportivo Alavés in La Liga, following an early end to his loan with Maccabi Haifa. As is the case with most transfers, the situation did not come together.

“In March, New York Red Bulls [were] ready to take me, but the offer, which could go up to €700,000 with bonus, was again refused by Alavés,” said Fuchs. “I ask for explanations, but no one gives me [any]. The sports director always blocked my departure and said no to offers of less than €2 million, an impossible price when I hadn’t played for several months.”

Fuchs moved to Dundee in October of 2020 for an undisclosed fee, signing a two-year deal. He is an everyday starter in the midfield and receiving transfer interest from Blackpool, Peterborough, Wigan, Stuttgart, Celtic, Rangers, and “a Premier League club.” While at fourth in the Scottish Professional Football League table and fighting for a spot in Europe, the Terrors may be forced to sell in the upcoming window.

This is, once again, another scouting victory for the Red Bulls that failed to manifest as a successful transfer.

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Anatole Abang might be staying in Azerbaijan and getting a raise. According to Sportlife.az, the Cameroonian striker is moving to Zira FK (not named after the doctor from Planet of the Apes – I checked) on a one-year contract with an option year. Qartallar (The Eagles) are at second place in the Premier League table.

However, the striker threw a little cold water on the initial report. “Can I move to Zira?” questioned Abang, presumably holding a skull in his hand like Hamlet. “I hope so. But to be honest, no one from this club has talked to me. I don’t know how it will be. Let’s see. Time will tell.”

None of us can determine what the future holds. Whatever happens, I personally ensure that the readers of Once a Metro are to be kept fully informed on the comings and goings of Abang. This is important to all of us, and I’m surely not wasting my life.

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I don’t know what your Christmas plans are. Maybe you’re seeing family or catching up with friends (lame). Perhaps charity work is on the schedule (double-lame).

I, for one, will be doing everything possible to be attending the 1st Christmas Party at the Park Cinema in Skien on December 25th. DJ Jan Gunnar Solli is hosting and plans on releasing a new song with pop/country singer Kurt Nilsen. The former Red Bull will then embark on a mini-club tour, which I plan on following like a Dead Head.

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Reserve team midfielder Steven Sserwadda was interviewed by journalist Just Gystin on NTV Sport. He’s still adjusting to the club and his new teammates, having only been in the United States for a few months. His goal is to “keep working hard” and reach the next level, perhaps in Europe, because “football doesn’t stop.”

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Stella of Middletown.

Unlike football, I wish the screaming voices in my head would stop.

Thank you, Stella. Please talk to a doctor.

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