Welcome to the Red Bulls Expert Guide presented by Once a Metro.
To repeat ourselves from earlier this week, this is going to be an interesting season for the Red Bulls, no two ways about it. The transfer market has been active, the tactics are going to change, and the fanbase might return to the stadium for the first time in a year. Excitement of some kind or another is ahead, but there is still a month or so of reading those beautiful, beautiful links.
Here’s this week’s top story.
An infinitesimally small segment of the population waits for resolution to the transfer saga involving Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra. There is no update of any real relevance to Red Bulls fans, so the wait continues on that front. However, the Argentine-Paraguayan playmaker did score the first goal in Al-Taawoun’s 2-0 victory over Al Wehda before exiting the match at halftime.
While no news has floated to the surface, there is plenty of time to examine the greater impact this situation has on the American soccer landscape. Charles Boehm examined “the murky matter of contract options” for US Soccer Players, endeavoring to determine how far Major League Soccer would be willing to push this situation lest the financial infrastructure take heavy damage. As he observes, “surrendering a few million dollars in transfer fees here and there might be worth avoiding a landmark ruling against a core business principle.”
The conclusion of this matter is undetermined, both in the time and manner of its arrival. As the year progresses, one can’t help but think the odds are declining for a result favoring the Red Bulls.
Mathias Jørgensen is five matchdays into his loan at AGF Aarhus and has still played a total of zero minutes. The Danish striker once again did not make the bench for a 2-0 win against SønderjyskE. According to Tipsbladet, he was included on the club’s injury list.
Despite not playing for the first team, Jørgensen tells Århus Stiftstidende that his injury has healed and everything “felt good” following a 20-minute appearance with the reserves against Randers FC. Unstressed, he views himself as a “different type” of attacker currently at AGF, dynamic and more comfortable with the ball at his feet. However, competition remains fierce at the club, currently at third place in the table.
“I feel ready for Superliga minutes now, but there is tough competition, so when it will be is not up to me,” Jørgensen told local scribe Andreas Würtz Adamsen. “I can do nothing but show that I am ready. So now for me it’s about giving the full throttle for training and getting proof to everyone that I’m ready to come in and make a difference.”
AGF’s next match is against Copenhagen on Sunday, February 28th.
Do you want to play sports trivia for money? Florian Valot invites you to join Loot Mogul. The “skills based mobile gaming platform” offers the opportunity for “real sports fanatics to compete against each other.” Owned by NextGenTM, the company allows for “influences and fans to monetize by playing short format games” and combines “popular aspects of Cameo + TikTok + Skillz.”
Once a Metro requests that, if you choose to engage with this platform, you gamble and/or play responsibly.
One former Red Bull has already moved into international management.
Former midfielder Stéphane Auvray is in charge of the Saint-Martin national team, a role the 39-year-old assumed in March of 2019. The Saint Swallows registered a third place finish in League C, Group B of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League with a record of three wins and three losses. Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the country was forced to play matches on the island of Anguilla, traveling 15 minutes by boat. The upcoming objective is to earn promotion to League B, not an insurmountable task with the manager allowed by the federation to bring in ten international players.
A veteran of France’s Ligue 2, Auvray joined the Red Bulls in 2011 from a trade that sent a second-round SuperDraft pick to Sporting Kansas City (that would eventually become career backup goalkeeper Brad Stuver). He made seven total appearances for Hans Backe and was released at the end of the season. Prior to retirement, the Guadeloupe international played briefly with Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club of the Singapore Premier League, but his contract was prematurely ended amid a cloud of minor controversy, with the manager alleged to have derisively referred to the respected player as “Bob Marley.”
In lighter news, Auvray’s son, Kaïlé, is a star in the LOSC Lille youth system. The teenage attacker is currently pursued by both the United States and France national team programs, but his options remain open. He is a product of his father’s European Soccer Institute, a Kansas City-based training organization that has provided several players for the Sporting Academy.
With Ambroise Oyongo on the outside of the team picture at Montpellier HSC, the French club sent the fullback on loan to FC Krasnodar until the end of the season. The Russian Premier League outfit, based in the Southern Federal District (but located more in the country’s east), is currently in seventh place with 30 points from 19 matches. The 29-year-old former Red Bull has “struggled for playing time” this season and was forced out of the starting lineup by Serbian international Mihailo Ristić.
While stability is a virtue to a professional player, the ability to experience other cultures does seem like a positive aspect. Perhaps the benefits of world traveling become tedious over time or only fully realized in hindsight. Enjoy Krasnodar, Ambroise Oyongo.
Even in retirement, Tim Cahill can’t stop scoring.
Victory Square Technologies, Inc. announced the former Red Bull will serve as a “strategic advisor” to GameOn Entertainment Technologies. The company is a leader in “providing consumers, broadcasters, sportsbooks, leagues, and teams with interactive, social experiences around sports, TV, and live events.” Founded in 2018, GameOn “helps partners turn their content into interactive and social experiences via mobile and TV apps.”
Cahill, ever the professional, couldn’t sound more thrilled to be joining the team. “As an athlete, I know how passionate and engaged supporters are,” he said in the official press release. “GameOn’s platform lets fans take their interest and engagement one step further within the comfort of their home. I’m excited to join as an advisor as GameOn continues to grow in the United States and across the globe.”
Congratulations to Tim Cahill as he is building quite the busy life in retirement. Writing books, podcasting, and serving as an official ambassador, the Socceroo stays diversified. I have no idea what this company does, but it sounds really neat!
Former Red Bulls II forward Amarildo de Souza (seven appearances, one goal, and one assist in 2019) has a new club. The 22-year-old joined Associação Atlética Caldense, one of 14 new signings for the upcoming season. The club, based in the city of Poços de Caldas, will compete in the 2021 Campeonato Brasileiro Série D and Campeonato Mineiro.
Fellow reserve striker Sebastian Elney has also sailed into a new berth. The 23-year-old Haitian international joined Hartford Athletic of the USL Championship for the upcoming season. He spent two seasons with Red Bulls II, scoring seven goals in 37 total appearances.
UEFA released a list of Africa’s top Champions League performers, and – wouldn’t you know it? – Ibrahim Sekagya made the article. The former Salzburg and New York defender has the most caps in the history of the Uganda national team with 46. The current reserve team assistant continues giving back to his home country, even setting up opportunities for compatriot managers to travel to the club and gain experience.
From a happy list to a sad one, 90 Min put together the cheeky “anti-11 signings in the history of MLS.” As you can imagine, there are more MetroStars and Red Bulls prominently featured than any other club, which is something resembling an accomplishment. The infamous group is composed of Lothar Matthäus, Claudio Reyna, and, of course, Rafa Márquez.
Congrats, fellas. You’ve made an indelible mark on the history of the club and American soccer as a whole. What may be but a footnote in your respective careers has become a tedious reiteration, sure to be ritually mentioned until the end of time.
I’ve read the emails, listened to the numerous voicemails, and collected every rock thrown through my window. I give up. You win. Here is your update on Jean-Claude Billong.
Everyone’s favorite former Red Bulls U-23s defender is thriving with Hatayspor in the Turkish Süper Lig. The Paris native has made 18 appearances for the recently promoted side, enjoying the consistent playing time that has largely been absent during his career. Currently in sixth place, Güneyin Yıldızı (Star of the South) has defied all expectations in the club’s debut season in the first-tier.
With success comes interest, and, woo boy, is there some transfer interest. The list of clubs hoping to sign Billong, currently on loan from Benevento, reportedly includes Fenerbahçe, Bochum, Nuremberg, and Hamburg. That group will likely grow as the towering center back continues his ascent.
I could think of another club attempting to sign a defender or two, perhaps a former stamp on the passport with which Billong is already familiar.
Club América was docked three points after attacker Federico Viñas was included on the bench for a recent match but not registered for the squad. The club investigated the source of the “administrative error” and landed on technical secretary Mario Peniche, a former operations coordinator and marketing coordinator with the Red Bulls. According to ESPN, the issue arose because club employees are used to receiving “the line-up and substitutes the night before,” but new manager Santiago Solari only shares the names hours before kick-off. The report reveals that “no employee has lost their job… but it is a situation that has not yet been ruled out.”
Recent New York loan target Tiago Ilori temporarily found a new club. Sporting Lisbon loaned the 27-year-old defender to FC Lorient “until the end of the season, without a purchase option.” Since moving to Ligue 1, he has made a total of zero appearances and is out for the foreseeable future after suffering a calf tear.
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Irene of Highland Park.
“His loan is going so well, the club will be renamed FC Ilorient.”
Thank you, Irene. The ability to match banal wordplay with cutting sarcasm has surely yielded great success in your professional and personal life.
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