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Red Bulls Paper Revue: December 19, 2022

One of the last remaining MetroStars retires, Tom Edwards wins goal of the month, and Ali Curtis joins a special club in this week’s links

MLS - New England Revolution vs New York/New Jersey MetroStars - April 25, 2004
Joselito Vaca, one of the last remaining MetroStars, has finally retired.
Photo by Allen Kee/MLSNETImages

Welcome to the Red Bulls Paper Revue presented by Once a Metro.

I always hated in high school and collegiate foreign language classes when the teachers would force students to go over the top with accents. Obviously, words should be pronounced correctly with all diacritical marks respected, but at some point, they are asking you to perform in some overly-enunciated voice like a Tuesday night UCB actor. I feel like it’s more respectful to speak the language properly in your own voice instead of being coached into poorly imitating Ricardo Montalbán.

Here’s this week’s top story.


In advance of the World Cup final, Gerhard Struber dropped his final tactics column on the pages of Kurier. The Red Bulls manager broke things down like Shabba Doo, describing the key points before France and Argentina got down to business. For you see, soccer is like a chemistry equation and we are all trying to find a balance.

“At the end of the World Cup, the question of sporting knowledge arises,” writes the manager. “For me as a coach, one thing stands out: if you want to be successful at the highest level, you have to have solutions at every stage of the game. In addition to a clear defensive plan, offensive variability is required: being able to crack opponents in switching behavior using speed and dynamics is just as important as attacks from stable ball possession, where surprising changes in rhythm are the key.”

Struber pushes back against the conventional, “often-overused wisdom” that dull defense wins championships. In fact, it was attacking beauty that killed the beast. That’s what happened yesterday when Argentina defeated France in the final of the 2022 World Cup that I most definitely watched!


Former Red Bull Tyler Pasher has landed back in the USL Championship, where he was named All-League Second Team in 2020. The sometime Canadian international and “talented player with place, creativity, and the ability to finish” signed with Birmingham Legion FC. He made a total of zero appearances last season for Gerhard Struber.

“I have been in contact with Coach Tom [Soehn] for quite some time over the years, and his persistence and determination to bring me to the club made my decision a no brainer,” Pasher told someone. “I am extremely excited to take part in the project the club is building and to join a team of extremely talented players with a lot of experience. I’m looking forward to getting started and to assist the team in any way I can to achieve the goal of bringing trophies to the city of Birmingham.”

Let’s just hope they don’t allegedly ask him to play fullback, am I right?


Red Bull Bragantino named a new manager, hiring Pedro Caixinha to the vacant position. He is set to lead Massa Bruta (Gross Mass) into the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A and Campeonato Paulista Série A1 with a tenure that will surely last for years and decades and eons. The 52-year-old is ready for the challenge.

Rest assured, any questions about meshing his preferred tactics with Red Bull’s high-octane ethos are mere paranoia. “Our game ideas coincide with the club’s ideas,” said Caixinha. “The expectations are of an aggressive style of play, a team that always wants to attack the opponent’s goal when they have the ball, or attack the ball when they are without it.”

Bragantino finished last season at 14th in the Série A table, which was a disappointment after finishing at sixth in 2021. After earning promotion in 2019, the club outperformed expectations and perhaps fell back down to earth. Perhaps the new manager can right the ship, survive the squalls of the sea, and, uh, swab the deck or whatever. I don’t know.


According to the Daily Mail, Europe’s top clubs are pushing back against plans for the 32-team Club World Cup, set to take place in the United States during the year of our Lord 2025. The argument being that such a competition would be “threat to the primacy of the Champions League.” Naturally, FIFA hopes that a massive war chest of prize money would help sway opinion into the “Let’s do it!” category.

This is all very important because the New York Red Bulls are sure to qualify for this tournament.


Former Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis was inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame. Now serving as the SVP of Competition & Operations of MLS NEXT Pro, he had a highly decorated four years competing for the with the Blue Devils before embarking on a brief professional career. The forward won the Hermann Trophy [Not named after Herman Munster, obviously, because the names are spelled differently.] and the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year awards, prior to them combining and becoming what we now know as the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the best player in college soccer.

Of course, we never did find out what happened between Curtis and Jesse Marsch during the 2017 offseason. That information was locked up tightly, and the key has long since been thrown away. Usually, one of those annoying journalists or bloggers would have tweeted that he or she knew the entire time because now, long after everyone has ceased caring, is the time to share with the world.


Speaking of that old MAC Hermann Trophy [Still not named for the patriarch of the Munster family.], Peter Stroud was named a finalist by the United Soccer Coaches and the Missouri Athletic Club. The Duke University midfielder is a First-Team All-American and was presented with his second consecutive ACC Midfielder of the Year award. The junior started in all 19 matches, contributing two goals and five assists. The Blue Devils finished the regular season undefeated but lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament and College Cup, which isn’t hilarious at all, so stop laughing.

We still have no idea if Stroud is eligible for a Homegrown contract after departing the Red Bulls Academy for West Ham. Those rules tend to be a bit fluid and open for interpretation. I’m making a ruling and have decided that New York can sign him. This is final.


One of the final MetroStars has left the field.

José “Joselito” Vaca Velasco played his last match, suiting up in a testimonial friendly between Bolivian sides Blooming and Oriente Petrolero, both of which he competed with at various stages. To celebrate his 23 years in the game, fans organized a “celestial caravan” from the center of town to the stadium, with the midfielder serving as a guest of honor and greeting well-wishers. The festive atmosphere included music, former teammates, friends, and a little soccer.

“I never imagined getting to play in the two biggest [clubs] in Santa Cruz, except being champion or playing for the national team,” he told El Deber. “There are already 23 years of [my] career that I have enjoyed to the fullest. This year has to come to an end... I don’t know [what I want to do] yet. I just want to enjoy these last few days to the fullest.”

Vaca played for the MetroStars in 2004, contributing one goal and one assist in 24 total appearances.


Tom Edwards won Barnsley’s November Goal of the Month Award. The defender scored a belter of a whammer of a cannon of a howitzer of a cheeseburger of a long-range shot in the Papa John’s Trophy Round of 32 against Port Vale. Despite the 2-1 loss, receiving an internal award is certainly nicer than not having one.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Edwards. “I haven’t scored many goals in my career. This is my first goal of the month award. It’s a great feeling, especially who the goal is against. It was a big moment for me and my family. I’m very happy to win the award.”

Unfortunately, Edwards is dealing with some health issues. Manager Michael Duff notes that the defender has dealt with a few “knocks.” His status is “difficult to assess,” which appears to be a common theme this year.


After the end of his loan with Vasco da Gama, Fábio Gomes is back training with Atlético Mineiro.

Well, that’s incorrect. He’s a member of the club, but the striker is working away from the rest of the players in deep seclusion. Galo (Rooster) is looking for a loan or transfer to get the striker off the books, a potential scenario that probably should have been considered before giving him a contract through the end of 2025.

Globo notes that Fábio still has “no destination,” but “he will be loaned,” which is my favorite Maroon 5 song.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Judith of Hopatcong.

I wish I could send my mother-in-law out on loan to Hell.

Thank you, Judith. I’m sure she appreciates your fanciful banter.


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