clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Red Bulls Paper Revue: February 14, 2022

Jesse Marsch is linked to Leeds, Muhamed Keita bounces down a division or four, and the tall tale of Gonzalo Veron continues in this Monday’s links

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

New York Red Bulls v Sporting Kansas City: Final - 2017 U.S. Open Cup
Former Red Bull Muhamed Keita thinks there’s a lot of quality in the Norwegian amateur divisions, not least of which himself.
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/New York Red Bulls via Getty Images

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

You can be a bass, you can be a baritone, but I cannot trust a bass-baritone. Pick a side.

Here’s this week’s top story.

***

The Red Bulls were kinda, sorta connected to a player, but not really.

Tottenham goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman posted a picture of New York (the city, not something upstate like Buffalo or Ithaca) on his Instagram stories. His agent spoke to Fotbol Direkt, saying that the former England youth international would be going on loan at a club, with the deal “presented shortly.” As to be expected from such circumstantial clues, online observers began connecting him with the Red Bulls and NYCFC, although there was no promise of an American destination.

Whiteman did not end up signing with an MLS club, instead going on loan at Degerfors IF in the Swedish Allsvenskan for the second time. He was merely “on vacation” in New York and “will come to Sweden on Thursday.” Red Bulls fans will surely rue the loss of their hypothetical star goalkeeper. What halcyon days those could have been, left to be experienced in an alternate universe where you’re also good-looking and interesting.

***

Perhaps the Red Bulls let Youba Diarra go a little too soon. The Malian midfielder is already being celebrated at TSV Hartberg for leading the club to the semifinals of the Austrian Cup. His health is also in a great place.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the weight room, with physical therapists, and with massage over the last three years,” said the 23-year-old. “But I can say today that I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. I’m even better than three years ago… But I know my body very well now, and I’ve also matured as a person during my stays abroad in Germany and the USA.”

Diarra’s injury issues reared their ugly head during last year’s loan with the Red Bulls. He played a mere 124 minutes with the season seemingly derailed after starting on Opening Day. However, there is some level of sunk cost to be considered if his success continues at Hartberg after investing an entire year (and salary, and an international spot) into his rehabilitation.

***

At least one person likes Red Bull Arena.

The recipient of the 2019 NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award praises the venue for utilizing “big captions on two scoreboards in the corner.” This technology is also used “during women’s sports,” for example, when Gotham FC is at the arena. Typically, there are “only two closed caption spaces on scoreboards,” which forces deaf fans to “sit in the lower levels and closer to the CC boards.”

***

KVC Westerlo notched another victory, defeating Royal Excel Mouscron by a 1-0 margin. De Kemphanen (The Ruffs) perch atop the Belgian First Division B table with a firm seven-point lead. David Jensen earned the shutout and preserved three points with a fantastic save in the 88th minute.

***

When a club needs high-energy soccer and pressing, there’s one man to call.

With “five months left on his contract,” rumors are swirling that Marcelo Bielsa will depart Leeds United. According to The Telegraph, the West Yorkshire club has three names on the preliminary interview list: Ernesto Valverde, Carlos Corberán, and Jesse Marsch. The latter is considered an appealing candidate due to having “a similar style of play” to the supposed outgoing manager.

Marsch has been waiting for the right move since departing RB Leipzig. He’ll find a job sooner than later, with all the tea leaves consistently pointing to England. I’m not sure whether a person who struggled to deal with the entrenched stars of his former club would do well with overpaid Premier League fancy boys, but the future can be surprising.

***

Blackburn Rovers dropped a 2-0 result to Nottingham Forest in the English Championship. Recent transfer target Darragh Lenihan received his second yellow card in the 53rd minute. His performance received a score of “4” from LancsLive, with the defender being judged to have made “an unnecessary lunge” after “being lured out of position on several occasions.”

***

Celtic (pronounced SEAL-tak) named a 25-player squad for the upcoming two-leg Europa Conference League Round of 32 series against Norwegian outfit FK Bodø/Glimt. Manager Ange Postecoglou elected to leave Ismaiila Soro off the list, which could indicate something. His absence could also indicate nothing of possible interest to readers, which is the ambiguity we must embrace to lead somewhat decent lives.

***

Esbjerg fB is certainly having an interesting preseason trip to Turkey. The second-tier Danish outfit defeated Arsenal Tula, 2-1, and lost to FC Olimp-Dolgoprudny, 4-0. New signing Mathias Jørgensen is highly involved and meshing well with his strike partner, Elias Sørensen, but struggling to find the back of the net.

***

Former Red Bulls striker Kenny Cooper (Jr.) was hired by FC Dallas as “the club’s first official ambassador.” He will “work with multiple departments throughout the organization to represent [the Hoops] and help build the best soccer community in Texas.” The big guy will do a little broadcasting, some community work, and “a host of other responsibilities.”

Upon hearing that people value Cooper’s contributions to the sport, a shocked Thierry Henry dropped what he was holding (kidding, kidding, but… kidding).

***

What’s Muhamed Keita up to?

After a stint at Ohod Club in Saudi Arabia, the former Red Bulls attacker is suiting up for Gamle Oslo (Old Oslo) in the 4. divisjon (fifth tier). He helped the club claim the 2021 OBOS Cup and finish second place in the Avdeling 1 (First Department/Region) table, four points off promotion. His self-belief remains high and is supported by management to reach a higher level.

“I can still compete with the best,” Keita told Drammens Tidende in November. “I guess we have a second-division level inside. Our team is very good. There are many players here who have played at a higher level before. We don’t have full-time players here, but if we could have, I’m sure we would have been at the second-division level… Delete the last. I think we could have been at the top of the second division.”

His plan is to eventually leave before returning when Gamle Oslo reaches the second division. “He is in shape,” said manager and former Portland Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. “But, of course, he has a little to go in terms of fitness. He has not played for a team in a long time, but he has football in his blood… I know he’s fine with how things have gone, but he’s fully aware that if he turned up the seriousness a notch, he could have played well at a skill level.”

Kwarasey hopes Keita “finds the joy of football again,” but knows the player “must feel valued” in order to “bloom.” For now, the dream of promotion remains the primary goal for the club. Management is still hoping for approval to change the name to “FC Oslo” because “there are many teams that start up and disappear.”

***

Here’s a story that was submitted by OaM Oakland bureau chief Juan Mesa.

Gonzalo Verón had a busy month. The Argentine attacker was with Sociedad Deportiva Aucas of the Ecuadorian Serie A. He contributed two goals and five assists in 16 appearances for El Ídolo del Pueblo (The idol of the people), which ended the season at ninth in the 16-team aggregate table.

The former Designated Player then departed Aucas and signed with Club Deportivo Universidad de San Martín de Porres of the Peruvian Liga 1 de Fútbol Profesional. Los Albos (The Whites) opened the 2022 season with a 3-0 loss to Universitario. Verón entered the match in the 58th minute.

His court case – a lawsuit with Independiente demanding $6 million – has also progressed quite dramatically. The Labor Court No. 2 of Avellaneda “ordered the seizure of assets for 4.8 million dollars,” according to Clarin. His former club is said to have “struck back and reported that a criminal counterclaim was underway for… procedural fraud and ideological falsehood of public document,” alleging a “true criminal maneuver” when the player’s representative sent a notification when headquarters were “absolutely closed and without any personnel who could have received” the paperwork.

The club is said to be enduring “a hard time paying the players but also the employees.” However, some situations have been resolved. Independiente announced that “all inhibitions have been lifted,” with money being transferred to creditors.” A payment to Verón was not listed among the several resolutions, which could indicate his situation continues.

I will keep you briefed, with my infantile understanding of Argentine contract and civil law.

***

Remember those stories about Amir Murillo leaving Anderlecht? I considered them pure tommyrot, and the Belgian media appears to agree. The Panamanian fullback has “become essential” to the club, with many curious to learn about his background.

“Mom was the sole breadwinner in our family after my father left us,” he told HLN (via Voetbalkrant). “The jobs she sometimes held... For example, she spent years cleaning in new, industrial buildings. However, she never got job security in that sector. Sometimes she was even without a job for a year, waiting for a phone call... Indeed, [my grandmother] was my hero. As a child I spent more time with her than at home, because my mother had to work so much or was busy for us. Grandma was always ready to receive us. She passed away nine years ago, which was a big blow. I owe my positive mindset entirely to her. Despite living in poverty, she insisted that one day we would ‘have everything.’”

Murillo continues to support his brothers and sisters who work and live in Panama. According to the star fullback, salaries are sometimes “not enough to make ends meet.” He’s made 29 appearances in all competitions this season, a key player for Anderlecht and manager Vincent Kompany.

***

Ross County (no relation) wants one man: Josh Sims. The Scottish Premier League club wants him, but the winger “has options on both sides of the border.” Manager Malky Mackay is willing to offer an enticing “long-term deal,” which is nothing to slouch at these days.

The Staggies are at tenth in the 12-team table, six points and one match at hand above relegation-zone denizens Dundee. The club is having few issues scoring, but another arrow is always welcome in the quiver. Sims has been out of contract since last summer after being released by Southampton.

***

That was a short break.

Former Red Bulls goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell recently ended his playing career but has already jumped into a new opportunity. He linked up with ex-MetroStar Tim Howard at Memphis 901 FC. The new executive will serve as assistant sporting director, returning home to his native Tennessee.

“I want to thank [the club] for their trust and bringing me on board for this exciting project,” Sewell said. “Memphis 901 FC is coming off their best season to date… I am looking forward to working with them on and off the field in this role as we build a winning team. Being from Tennessee this is quite a special job for me, and I look forward to helping the club [reach] the playoffs this season.”

After working as a player/coach last season for Toronto FC II, this completes the triumvirate of sporting roles. At his current trajectory, Patterson-Sewell should be expected to work in ticket sales and concessions in the next few years. He’s like Benjamin Franklin but for American soccer.

***

Monterey Bay FC has another former Red Bull on the books.

The Southern California club announced the signing of Arun Basuljevic. The 26-year-old signed a Homegrown contract in 2017, spending the year with the reserves in the USL Championship. After being released, he spent time on the books with Fremad Amager, Nyköpings BIS, Fresno FC, and Oklahoma City Energy. The roster also includes goalkeeper Rafael Díaz.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Dinah of Coxs Corner.

Monterey should try to sign a player named Jack.

Thank you, Dinah. That would be quite the cheesy move.

***

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