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Red Bulls Expert Guide: August 23, 2021

Bento Estrela joins the Portugal youth national team, Bragantino helps New York with scouting Brazil, and is Red Bull Mexico a possibility again?

MLS Regular Season Home Opener Match New York Red Bulls v Portland Timbers
Ben Mines has a new club.
Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

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

I wanted to be the managing editor of this site, but I was stepped over. They told me that was the way SB Nation wanted it. But it ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things. I’m smart… not like everybody says… like dumb! I’m smart and I want respect and to run this website!

Here’s this week’s top story.


Here we go again. The official Twitter account for Red Bull México posted an emoji of a soccer ball. You know what that means: rumors of the multinational energy drink company buying a team in Liga MX are back and better than ever.

Speculation has run wild in the Mexican media. ESPN indicates this could be a sign that Necaxa is targeted for a takeover or investment. RÉCORD claims the company is “leaving the door open” by making such a post on Twitter.

Necaxa is currently split between majority owner Ernesto Tinajero and an investment company that features D.C. United executive Sam Porter. Red Bull does not appear to be the type to pursue partial control of a club, but perhaps there are other interested parties in Mexico. Sources have told Once a Metro… absolutely nothing.

Maybe it’s just a Tweet, man. I don’t know.


Midfielder Bento Estrela trained with the Portugal U-16 national team at the Cidade do Futebol (City of Football) in Algés. There was a scrimmage against GS Loures U-18s. The Red Bulls Homegrown was one of the few international players included in the camp.

This is sort of a big deal for an MLS academy product to be included on any roster for such a powerful national team program.


Hearing information from Brazil is always a treat. Red Bull Bragantino head of operation Thiago Scuro appeared on the Kritike Podcast and talked about a lot. Do you want to learn about scouting and perhaps a mild comparison between his club and… others?

“We recommend players for Red Bull New York,” said Scuro. “We recommend players from South America for Leipzig, and many times we even conduct the negotiation together... The quality of Brazilian football is so great that the results are coming much earlier than Red Bull itself expected in our market, unlike other experiences the company has with football in other countries.”

He’s probably talking about Red Bull Ghana. I’m sure he means Red Bull Ghana. Still, it’s quite interesting that perhaps Bragantino is involved in the transfer negotiations for New York.


On that note, here’s some possible information of note but probably not.

Periodista Wilson González Bronce of ABC Cardinal 730 AM reports that Ramón Sosa “is in the interest of Red Bull Bragantino.” There are also some further nibbles from São Paulo and unnamed MLS clubs. The 21-year-old Olimpia midfielder is viewed as a top young talent in the Paraguayan Primera División, an incisive dribbler and goal-scorer that will likely enhance any attacking group.

Do I think Sosa will end up in New York? No, he seems to fit the profile of a Bragantino prospect, a club not lacking in resources or scouting inroads into Paraguay. However, when “MLS,” “Red Bull,” and a transfer rumor end up in the same area, there’s some mild obligation to share with you.


Former Red Bull Ben Mines was sent on loan. The 21-year-old is joining Orange County SC of the USL Championship for the rest of the season. Since joining FC Cincinnati, he has yet to make an appearance.

There are worse places to live than Orange County. Do you think he’s seen the 2002 film Orange County? I doubt it. He was… one… when it was released.


Goalkeeper coach Jyri Nieminen appeared on the Short Corners football podcast. He discussed his career journey and his work developing “two-footed” players. The Red Bull organization is described as “really good” with a “passionate” head of goalkeeping


The rumors are true. Jean-Claude Billong has found a new club, joining Clermont Foot 63. The former Red Bulls U-23s defender signed a two-year contract with the recently promoted Ligue 1 club.

“It is a source of pride for me to come back to my country of birth,” said the Frenchman. “I am very happy with the confidence placed in me by the club… Sunday was the first time I came to Clermont. I saw a crowd who cheered on the players from the first to the last minute, and I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of play, which is fundamental for progression!”

Billong has played in seven different countries during his globetrotting career. Benevento received a transfer fee, yet to be revealed. He reportedly joined the Italian side in December of 2017 for roughly €2-2.5 million.


Goalkeeper David Jensen notched his second shutout in two matches as KVC Westerlo played to a scoreless draw with RWD Molenbeek in Belgian First Division B action. The action was light, but he made a few minor saves. Presumably, his loan includes an option to buy, although that was never reported.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Birdie of Summit.

I hope David enjoys his time in Belgium. The only thing my husband ever brought me back from his extended business trips was divorce papers.

Thank you, Birdie. I… hope you’re doing okay.


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