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Red Bulls Expert Guide: May 31, 2021

Ex-Red Bulls are playing for trophies in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Saudi Arabia while Steven Sserwadda inches closer and closer to making his move to New York

New York Red Bulls Vs Portland Timbers
Vincent Bezecourt can add an Armenian Premier League trophy to his Red Bulls silverware
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

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

Are you having a good year? It’s almost half over. You should try to accomplish something with your life. Start by reading this post. That counts as improvement.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Player agency Binary Sports Group posted on Instagram that Ugandan youth international Steven Sserwadda is set to join New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship, appearing to confirm previous reports. The 18-year-old is described as “one of the most talented players of his generation,” possessing “amazing talent and work ethic.” His superlative performance at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations attracted many clubs.

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The Red Bulls missed out on a trophy… or at least a small portion of one.

Despite a superlative effort from Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra, Al-Taawoun lost to Al-Faisaly by a 3-2 margin in the final of The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup. The Argentine-Paraguayan playmaker had a goal and an assist. In the 14th minute, he received a pass on the left side of the box and volleyed an inch-perfect cross to an awaiting Léandre Tawamba, who then finished from close range. His 45th minute penalty conversion put the Wolves ahead, but the lead did not last.

The disappointment cannot last long, as there is international soccer on the horizon. Kaku will miss the final match of the season against Damac FC, leaving Saudi Arabia to join up with the Paraguayan national team. There are two crucial World Cup qualifying matches on the schedule, facing off against Uruguay and Brazil.

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Who here had Rubin Kazan on the Sead Hakšabanović bingo card? The Russian club beat out Napoli and Atalanta to sign the Swedish-Montenegrin playmaker. According to Daniel “Disco” Kristoffersson, the fee is in the range of $6 million to $7.25 million, which is “the third-largest transfer from the Allsvenskan.” Sportbladet claims the latter amount is accurate.

That is… slightly… more than the $4 million the Red Bulls reportedly offered. Can you believe that was almost six months ago? What have you accomplished since then? I haven’t done anything.

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Your old pal Vincent Bezecourt has helped deliver the Armenian Premier League title for FC Alashkert. The French midfielder scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over FC Ararat Yerevan in the penultimate week of the season, drilling his volley into the back of the net to help secure the team’s place at the top of the table.

In the final fixture of the season, Alashkert defeated Ararat-Armenia, 1-0, to officially claim the title. The club has won the Armenian Premier League four times this decade. This is the fourth trophy of Bezecourt’s professional career, joining the 2016 USL Regular Season, 2016 USL Cup, and 2018 MLS Supporters’ Shield.

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There’s been other Red Bulls alums playing for trophies in the Caucasus this month. Congratulations to Anatole Abang and Keşlə Futbol Klubu as they captured this season’s edition of the Azerbaijan Cup with a 2-1 win over Sumqayıt. The Cameroonian striker started and played 90 minutes. He almost scored in the 94th minute but didn’t.

Keşlə finished at sixth in the Azerbaijan Premier League table, two points ahead of last place Səbail. By virtue of winning the cup, the club has qualified for the second qualifying round of next season’s Europa Conference League. Will Abang stick around the ASK Arena or add another stamp to his passport?

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Belgian publication VoetbalPrimeur named their Team of the 2020-2021 Season and, surprise, surprise, Amir Murillo was included. The Panamanian right back had a great year Anderlecht despite being “a little too restrained by [manager] Vincent Kompany.” He can “hardly be stopped,” with four goals and four assists in 39 appearances.

After a chaotic 1-0 loss to Antwerp in the final match of the season that featured a Matt Miazga red card, Anderlecht dropped to fourth in the table and qualified for the third-tier Europa Conference League. While Murillo recently signed a long-term contract at the club, expect significant transfer interest in the 25-year-old this summer. According to Dylan Butler, the Red Bulls might be due an eventual sell-on fee, which could be quite munificent.

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Former New York Red Bulls Academy player Jeciel Cedeño has joined Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship. The 21-year-old midfielder made two appearances as an amateur for the reserve team in 2019. He scored three goals during the preseason.

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Would you like to participate in a digital platform that “mixes social networks, football education, and knowledge sharing with the global football community”? Gameinsight offers webinars, mentoring programs, and live chats. In case you’re not completely interested, what if I were to tell you that Hans Backe is involved?

“Hans Backe is a driving force in this, sprung from his drive to educate and share knowledge,” says COO John Wall. The two men previously worked together on a book dedicated to Marco Bielsa’s training methods. The company, once focused on Sweden, is hoping to become a tool for the entire footballing world.

I know that each and every Red Bulls fan will purchase a membership in order to learn the wonders of the 4-4-2 and positioning defensive midfielders as wingers.

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Following three losses to open the 2021 Veikkausliiga season, the seat of one Teemu Tainio was hot and getting hotter. Local media insisted the FC Haka manager was not “showing any development steps,” claiming that the press was low intensity and there was a distinct lack of communication between the players. Perhaps those are harsh criticisms considering the club had only recently returned to the top flight and narrowly avoided relegation, but problems are easier to diagnose than solve.

For his part, Tainio was unconcerned with the slow start. The club has reeled off two straight wins against IFK Mariehamn and KuPS, rising to eighth in the 12-team standings. Following this weekend’s triumph, he remarked, “It’s really nice to sit on the bus after this victory.

That’s not quite telling Joe Cole to look at the scoreboard, but every quote does not need to be a Paddy Chayefsky-level retort.

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Did you know that Brentford is now in the Premier League after beating Swansea, 2-0, in the English Championship Playoff final? Did you know that one-time Red Bulls transfer target Ivan Toney converted a penalty in the tenth minute? Did you know that people mocked the current front office for pursuing him, even though he scored 32 goals in 51 appearances this season?

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Constance of North Haledon.

If the Red Bulls had signed Ivan Toney, the club still wouldn’t have made it to the Premier League.

Thank you, Constance. The Red Bulls still would have failed to secure promotion if Ivan Toney was signed.

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