Welcome to the Red Bulls Expert Guide presented by Once a Metro.
The happiest day of my life was when I ordered a truly excessive hoagie (or sub for those of you in the civilized world) and watched the first three Indiana Jones films. As The Last Crusade wrapped, with the heroes riding off triumphantly, a wave of pure contentment washed over me. I don’t know if it’s possible to get to that mental point again or why such simple variables of a sandwich and a movie trilogy produced that uniquely harmonious result. Perhaps that was the peak and there’s no sense in chasing it again.
Here’s this week’s top story.
New York Red Bulls(?) midfielder Steven Sswerwadda was named to the Uganda senior national team for a friendly against South Africa. He was one of the standouts on the U-20 squad that reached the final of the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. The 18-year-old was included on the bench but did not appear in the match, a thrilling 3-2 loss.
There’s more praise for Gerhard Struber, this time from Salzburg U-18s manager Fabio Ingolitsch. The 29-year-old learned a lot from his former boss at Liefering and appreciated the chance to develop. “Back then, when he was a newbie, he put his full trust in me,” he told Salzburg24.
Don’t expect a reunion as Ingolitsch plans on staying at Salzburg. However, this story should come as no surprise. Struber has supplemented his New York coaching staff with similarly young assistants, trusting their natural abilities and leadership instincts.
Guadeloupe named a 23-player squad for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying tournament held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from July 2nd through the 6th. Included in the squad is none other than Red Bulls II striker Luther Archimède, who has one cap at the senior international level. Les Gwada Boys face off against the Bahamas and will play the winner of Guatemala and Guyana for a spot in the final tournament.
Archimède was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. The 21-year-old was signed by the USL reserve team in April after an impressive preseason. He has yet to make an appearance or feature in the match day squad, a streak that seems likely to continue for at least another month.
Red Bull goalkeeper coach Jyri Nieminen appeared on the Inside the 18 Goalkeeper Podcast, discussing everything from Finnish baseball to dealing with “short-range scenarios.” He started training other players at the age of 14, which is incredible but partially explains his rapid rise through the sporting world. This is another great conversation and must-listen for anyone who enjoys the more technical side of the game.
The Red Bulls organization is losing one of its most important members.
Field science guru Zach Holm has been hired as the newest turf care manager for Central Park. The former (or soon-to-be-former) Manager of Field Operations was hired in 2015 and helped claim the 2020 Field of the Year award in 2020 from the Sports Turf Managers Association. On Twitter, he referred to the move as “a bittersweet departure.”
I know nothing about the industry, but being in charge of the lush greenery at Central Park feels like a pretty big deal. I think. I really have no idea.
There’s some high praise for a form-... curr-... I don’t know anymore.
Anyway, journalist Majid Al-Tuwairi was full of appreciation for Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra on the Kora Rotana television program. The Argentine-Paraguayan playmaker recently completed half of a season at Al-Taawoun in the Saudi Professional League, contributing eight goals and two assists in 12 matches. The Wolves (or the Cooperation - lot of nicknames) made a run to the final of the The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup, losing to Al-Faisaly despite his goal and assist.
“The Taawoun player Kaku is the best who wore the number ten in the professional league this season,” effused Al-Tuwaijri. “Kaku is a real player, among the main things that made [the] Cooperation a [force] this season.”
The resolution of this saga will probably come long after all of us are dead. I’m sorry. That’s morbid. It probably will not end until most of us are dead.
Former Red Bulls Academy star Matt Olosunde is leaving Rotherham United after two seasons in Yorkshire. A yo-yo club, The Millers once again experienced the joys of relegation from the Championship after finishing in 23rd place. There are no harsh feelings toward his departure.
“On behalf of everyone here, I would like to say what a pleasure it has been to work with Matty for the last couple of years,” said manager Paul Warne. “As we try with every player that comes through the door, we have worked on making him a better player than when he joined us and I hope that he agrees that we have been successful in doing so. He leaves the club with absolutely no animosity as he looks to pursue a new challenge somewhere else and goes very much with our blessing.”
Olosunde played with the Red Bulls Academy from 2012 through 2015. After making an appearance with the reserve team, he joined Manchester United. Now the 23-year-old defender is looking for a new home, an intriguing prospect whose defensive limitations are becoming less of an issue in a global footballing world becoming increasingly reliant upon attacking fullbacks. Preston North End is said to be interested.
Don’t even think about asking if he is coming back to New York.
“Is he coming ba-“
I said don’t.
Former Academy player Édison Bilbao has carved out quite the career for himself in Malta. The Chilean midfielder is currently with Tarxien Rainbows, which was relegated from the Premier League during a COVID-shortened season. His footballing journey started a long time ago, including stops at New Jersey City University and several countries.
“With my family we settled in Newark, New Jersey,” Bilbao told Balón Latino. “There was a large colony of Brazilians and Portuguese. They took me to play at a Portuguese club in New York, and later, they took me to the New York MetroStars. I played with them for most of my adolescence, while finishing school and my university stage. I finished studying marketing and, at the age of 21, my professional soccer career began.”
Bilbao insists that he has a “current contract” with Tarxien and “will see what the future holds.”
Rumors abound that Peruvian right back Jhilmar Lora has an offer from a club in MLS and is also linked to a few Liga MX outfits. Last season, the 20-year-old made several appearances for Liga 1 club Sporting Cristal, impressing in the Copa Libertadores. Also capable of playing on the other side of the field, he was recently called into the Peru national team.
Earth Nation Index provided a scouting report on Lora, praising his abilities as a crosser and tendency to beat opponents off the dribble. Possessing the potential to play in a top-five league, he needs to improve his physicality but has a high work rate. Some team is certainly going to acquire a very talented player, likely in the near future.
So I guess I’ll see you later.
[Columbo voice]: Oh, there’s one more thing.
In the past, Red Bull Brasil has scouted Sporting Cristal for players, inviting one of Lora’s teammates to train. While there are no stories connecting the New York Red Bulls and the young fullback, the MLS club has used its Brazilian connections in the past, most notably with Fábio Roberto Gomes Netto. Don’t make any assumptions, but stay tuned for what is probably nothing.
Last we checked in on Gonzalo Verón, the former Red Bulls Designated Player was suing Argentine side Club Atlético Independiente and playing for Club Sol de América in the Paraguayan Primera División. Add another stamp to the passport because the 31-year-old attacker has joined Sociedad Deportiva Aucas of the Ecuadorian Serie A. El Ídolo del Pueblo start the second stage of the season after finishing at tenth in the table and not advancing to the knockout rounds of the Copa Sudamericana.
One of six professional outfits based in the high-altitude capital city of Quito, the club is in dire need of some attacking juice to stave off relegation. Verón – known as La Brujita (Little Witch) and El Pájaro (Bird) – appears to need a change of scenery after only making three total appearances for Club Sol de América. Hopefully he’s worked on his cardio.
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Bea of Glen Ridge.
“I bet Jesse Marsch wrote him a glowing letter of recommendation.”
Thank you, Bea. I would take the bet because I am pretty sure that he did not.
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