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Red Bulls Expert Guide: June 7, 2021

Mathias Jørgensen officially hits out on the comeback trail, Andy Roxburgh makes some new hiring recommendations, and Jean-Claude Billong fights off match-fixing charges in just a few of this week’s links

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Soccer - MLS - New York Red Bulls v New England Revolution
Does former Red Bulls technical director Andy Roxburgh see some of Mike Petke in the new Celtic manager?
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

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

Am I an A-List blogger in the Red Bulls world? I would say no. The A-List film star is someone who can open a non-franchise movie at number one in the box office based on name recognition. People will go to the theaters because of that person. Nobody is reading a blog post solely because I wrote it.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Al-Taawoun is set to let three foreign players leave the club, however Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra will be retained. The Argentine-Paraguayan playmaker enjoyed a fantastic half-season in the Saudi Professional League, contributing eight goals and two assists in 12 matches. Wouldn’t it have been funny if he was released, showed up at the training facility, and behaved as if nothing happened like George Costanza?

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New York was given a big-time feature by the corporate Red Bull site. Describing the United States market as “the football start-up,” writer Jürgen Schmieder interviewed Tyler Adams, Jesse Marsch, and Sean McCafferty about the progress being made. The academy director provided some insight into his plans and ideas for the future.

“Around 40,000 young people come into contact with our project every year,” said McCafferty.

“We are really looking for talent everywhere, we promote coaches, and I believe that it is no longer a coincidence that we are now seeing US professionals who are also better trained tactically… Maybe in 20 years we can try to keep someone like Adams a little longer. The reality at the moment is different, but we are seeing the first fruits of our labor. That’s just the beginning.”

Perhaps the Red Bulls are in a good position to utilize the American talent market.

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Aarhus Gymnastikforening gave an official goodbye to Mathias Jørgensen on the club’s website, stating that he will not return next season. “From here, a big thank you to the players for their time in AGF,” said sporting director Stig Inge Bjørnebye. “It has been a pleasure to work with them and we say thank you to them for the time being in Aarhus and wish them good luck on their future journey.”

What will Jørgensen’s future entail? If I was a player, I would push for a temporary move to Australia or maybe Spanish Segunda División clubs UD Las Palmas and Tenerife. He might as well have some fun when stuck in the loan army.

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Red Bulls II defender Lamine Conte spoke at the YSC Academy Class of 2021 Graduation. The Conakry, Guinea native praised the school for giving him an opportunity to thrive. He was a member of the Class of 2016.

After studying at the University of Mobile and the University of Louisville, Conte was selected by the Red Bulls with the 40th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. He signed a contract with the reserve team in April. The 22-year-old has yet to appear in the match day roster at the USL level.

After the recent 7-0 loss, the team could probably use some extra help on the back line.

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New York Red Bulls head of goalkeeping Jyri Nieminen appeared on the Gloves On podcast. The episode specifically discusses “building out of the back,” which is undoubtedly of interest to any tactics nerds out there. I say this a lot and usually don’t mean it, but this time, maybe give the show a listen.

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Did you think Ralf Rangnick was heading to Tottenham? What would put that idea in your silly little head?

According to The Telegraph, the Red Bull architect is considered a candidate to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Everton. Rangnick was previously connected to the Toffees in December of 2019, rejecting a contract to stay with Leipzig. Exactly how close he is to any job is up for speculation.

A worldwide hunt for employment, being wined and dined by some of the world’s top clubs sounds like a fun experience. It certainly beats scrolling through Indeed.

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New York Red Bulls III, also known as Celtic FC, is reportedly set to hire Ange Postecoglou as the club’s next manager. However, the Greek-Australian does not possess a UEFA Pro License, having earned his certification in Asia. A very special figure has spoken up on his behalf.

“I know Ange very well,” said former Red Bulls sporting director and current Asia Football Confederation technical director Andy Roxburgh [studio audio screams]. “We think he is a top, top guy. Ange was at my last two elite [coaching] forum events and spoke very well. I would describe him as strong, clever, and progressive… It’s just the fact that this is a process that UEFA go through and we can’t influence it in any way, shape, or form… It’s frustrating if you are lined up to do a job and have to face it, but it’s not about the individual here. It’s about the various cases they get annually and the process.”

You could do a lot worse than hiring a coach co-signed by Andy Roxburgh. For example, you could hire [redacted].

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With his contract expiring, Josh Sims is looking for a new club. Will the English winger end up back at the Red Bulls? Don’t be an idiot, but there is a new potential option.

According to The News, Portsmouth of League One is interested in acquiring the 24-year-old. “Head coach Danny Cowley has made inquiries about the wide man,” writes Will Rooney. “Although it would mean him having to cross a divide that only a handful [has] bravely taken in the past… Sims is out of contract at the Blues’ fierce rivals later this month and has been released.”

Now the South Coast derby between Portsmouth and Southampton has been played… uh, once… in the past decade. That probably won’t be too big of a hill to climb if Pompey wants to sign Simsy. Hopefully everything works out for the former England youth international.

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Here’s a story that was submitted to the Expert Guide by Once a Metro Oakland bureau chief Juan Mesa.

Former Red Bulls academy player Andrew Maia has signed with Esporte Clube Vitória according to an announcement on his personal Instagram account. The Bahia-based club competes in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B and Campeonato Baiano. The U.S. youth international will likely see time with the U-20 squad.

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Congratulations to Andrew Jean-Baptiste for being named one of Valour FC’s captains. After a globetrotting career, he’s finally found a situation with some stability. The former Red Bulls defender “oozes” leadership and is excited to play an important role at the Canadian Premier League club.

“To be announced as captain, the feeling is almost indescribable,” said Jean-Baptiste. “When I was in the office with them today, I told them my heart was pounding because I couldn’t believe it… They see something in me that was overlooked in the past. I’m a person who was quite vocal in every locker room I’ve been in. I try to get along with everyone because I’m big on team chemistry and bonding. It is why, over the years, I’ve managed to learn different languages because every team can have its cliques.”

I’ve spent five years trying to learn Spanish, and, let me tell you, I’m just terrible.

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Congratulations to Shep Messing on being named the chairman of the Major Arena Soccer League. The legendary figure in American soccer begins his new role on June 15th “to further grow the league in all aspects on and off the field.” Thankfully, he will continue to be a member of Red Bulls broadcasts.

For his first order of business, I hope Shep brings back the Philadelphia Kixx.

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Following Hatayspor’s 7-0 loss to Beşiktaş, former Red Bulls U-23 defender Jean-Claude Billong was accused of match fixing, a charge he vehemently denied on social media. “I would like to make it absolutely clear that I have never and will never do match-fixing,” said the 27-year-old. “I will defend my honesty and professionalism to the end. An independent institution in Turkey can do the necessary research.”

In happier news, Billong is enjoying his time with the Cameroon national team. He feels “great pride” in wearing the jersey and looks forward to “helping the group.” Les Lions Indomptables are playing two friendlies against Nigeria.

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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, in the year 1998, Juan Pablo Ángel had to play goalkeeper. The legendary Colombian striker was playing at River Plate and had already scored in a match against Deportivo Español. He was called into action, saving a free kick in a 4-0 victory.

“In particular it was a little emotional because it was my debut,” said Ángel. “We looked at each other and I said, ‘I’m going.’ I had no idea how to stop the free kick.”

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Celia of West Caldwell.

Based on that experience, Ángel would have been one of the better goalkeepers during the Backe years.

Thank you, Celia. That was certainly an entertaining time to follow the club.

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Do you have a story you’d like to submit to the Expert Guide? Email us at bencorkOAM@gmail.com or send a DM to @Once_A_Metro on Twitter.