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Red Bulls Paper Revue: February 28, 2022

Cristian Cásseres is linked to England, some light is shed on why Luquinhas left Poland, and Mario Gomez is scurried into a secret meeting in this week’s links

Legia Warsaw v Spartak Moscow - UEFA Europa League
Luquinhas was a steal for the Red Bulls according to a pundit in Poland.
Photo by Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

Yes, the season started and we’re still doing this. No, I don’t know why either. Maybe something interesting will pop up on the radar. I’m like one of those SETI fellows, desperately searching but knowing by the time I find something, most likely everyone will have seen it already.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Since joining the New York Red Bulls in 2018, I don’t recall ever seeing a transfer rumor involving Cristian Cásseres. There must have been some interest in the Venezuelan international that failed to permeate the press, as his performances have only improved with time. With a contract that should eventually elapse, clubs have to be circling somewhere.

Apparently they are because we finally have a small nugget of potential information involving the 22-year-old. According to transfer journalist Graeme Bailey (90min, Planet Sport, TEAMtalk, and SiriusXM), two English clubs are pursuing Cásseres. Brighton and Watford – both in the Premier League, for now – have “initial interest’’ in him.

This is a massive season for Cásseres who should be stepping into something of a leadership role at the club. With solid performances, suitors should approach from across the world. While England may not be his dream (which is Italy), receiving attention from clubs in a top league must provide some measure of validation.

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Legia Warsaw nation is unhappy with the departure of Luquinhas. Some may even say they are downright annoyed. Club icon Dariusz “Jacki” Dziekanowski took the pages of Przegląd Sportowy to express his clear disapproval with the move.

“Looking at the situation of the team, or rather the club from Łazienkowska in general, I find it even more incomprehensible what happened in this transfer window,” writes the former striker. “Specifically, I mean selling the most important and best player - Luquinhas. The Brazilian was an important link in this team, the player who made the difference; he was able to do something unconventional on the pitch, unpredictable for his rival. What’s more, the coach also prepared him for the role of the team leader, because he entrusted him with the captain’s armband. Meanwhile, a few weeks later, it turns out that Legia accepted an offer of about 3 million euros for this player. Let’s be honest - it is not a staggering sum, it cannot even be said that it is high. It’s a real deal for the New York Red Bulls team.”

Luquinhas appears quite the player and will aid in the club’s pursuit of silverware. It’s been said that observers should monitor the reaction of fans and adjust their expectations accordingly. Of course, there’s also that other reason which probably hastened his exit from Poland.

According to TVP Sport, in December, “hooligans broke into the coach transporting the players to the training complex after a 0-1 defeat with Wisła Płock.” Luquinhas reportedly “suffered the most,” never to play another match for Legia. Journalist Szymon Kępka reports that “witnesses were questioned” and “did not feel aggrieved,” resulting in the police “completing activities.” In what Super Express terms a “shocking conclusion,” there will be no punishments handed down.

Luquinhas should be ready to come to New York when his visa issues are settled. That shouldn’t take too long. I imagine by the time he gets settled, the attacker should be ready to make his Red Bulls debut in September.

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Tom Edwards is waiting to become healthy, and the anticipation of his return is building. With optimism at shockingly decent levels, adding the young veteran to the lineup should provide a boost. Former teammate Ryan Shawcross had some quite nice things to say in his column for Stoke-on-Trent Live.

“Tom Edwards did really well with the New York Red Bulls last season and I was a little bit surprised that he came out again,” gossiped Shawcross. “I still hope he’s got a future at Stoke if he can show his form and ambition to really fulfill his potential. He got an injury that killed him when he went back just before Christmas and the timing was all wrong. It’s difficult going back mid-way through a season and football is all about timing. Michael O’Neill has Tommy Smith and Demeaco Duhaney and Ben Wilmot who he’s trusting in that role at the moment so you understand his thinking. He played right-back last season but also right wing, centre-midfield and on the right of a back three and I’ve no doubt he’ll do well again. I speak to him quite regularly and there’s a really good player in there so he’s got to make sure it does.”

The world of football can be a series of sliding doors, and life is truly all about timing. It needs to be good, as the Beach Boys sang. They also said something about Rhonda, but that doesn’t really apply to this situation.

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The Fair Share Housing Center filed “a new court motion as part of its lawsuit against Morris Township.” Citing the Mount Laurel doctrine, the organization claims there must be a recalculation to determine the “development potential” for the former Honeywell International campus, stating that the space was never considered for affordable housing. This is, of course, the location for the New York Red Bulls training facility, “set to be completed by 2024.”

Red tape is to be expected, but time will tell exactly how sticky this bureaucracy ends up being.

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By now, you probably heard the rumors connecting the Red Bulls to Jürgen Heil. The TSV Hartberg midfielder is available this upcoming summer but indicated the possibility of staying in the Austrian Bundesliga. Kronen Zeitung spoke to his former manager Markus Schopp, who I’m told played for New York in 2006 and 2007.

“Impressive, which way he has gone in Hartberg so far,” said the Blonde Angel. “As a player, I’ve always looked for a challenge abroad and can recommend it. But of course he also knows exactly what he has in Hartberg.”

Schopp was most recently in charge of Barnsley. After signing a three-year contract last summer, he was sacked in early November while enduring a 13-match winless streak. Perhaps the next move is a triumphant return to New York, you know, if the top position opens.

Also, since apparently I have to track this sort of thing, TSV Hartberg lost to Sturm Graz last weekend, 3-0. Heil started and played 83 minutes at attacking midfielder. Old friend Youba Diarra also did his thing for 80 minutes, which is nice.

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Where was new Red Bull employee Mario Gómez last week? He was at Leipzig’s Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad. According to Bild, the striker was attending a “secret meeting” with ownership and “scurried into the stadium.”

That seems unnecessarily dramatic cloak-and-dagger for a man doing his job, but here we are. What’s life without a little mystery? I’m sure the meetings involved discussions pertaining to espionage, subterfuge, or, perhaps, synergy.

***

KVC Westerlo continues to reign atop the Belgian First Division B table, notching a 2-1 victory over Waasland-Beveren. David Jensen was between the pipes and earned a caution, presumably for time wasting in the 94th minute. The match was a bit of a nightmare for defender Pietro Perdichizzi, scoring an own goal and picking up a red card.

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Atlético Mineiro edged out cellar-dwellers Pouso Alegre by a 3-2 margin in the 2022 Campeonato Mineiro. Some guy named Fábio Gomes converted the winner in the 95th minute. The former Red Bull headed in a corner from the penalty spot, just barely getting the ball past the line.

“The Turco [manager Antonio Mohamed] said there would be a ball left over for me to score,” said Fábio. “I trusted his word and I’m very happy to be able to reciprocate. It’s always good to score a goal and go to the derby well. May God bless us, and congratulations to the whole team.”

Like a gigantic Tiny Tim, he appears to be enjoying his new surroundings.

***

After a brief break, Red Bull Salzburg was hit with a deluge of positive COVID-19 tests. Between players and staff, 15 people “are already affected.” According to the club’s official website, “they are all quarantining in accordance with the valid regulations.”

Relevant safety measures “have been enhanced,” with spectators blocked from training sessions. “As things stand, we are able to train and play,” said Sporting Director Christoph Freund. “We need to closely observe how things go with the uninfected players together with our medical department and react accordingly.”

Salzburg was off this weekend and next faces off against LASK Linz on Wednesday, March 2nd. The big date on the calendar circled in bright red ink is the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Matthias Jaissle’s side pulled off a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich and could register a second shock result that would send reverberations across the sporting world.

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Some guy named Bradley Carnell is the manager of St. Louis CITY SC [Yes, “CITY” is in all caps]. The South African spoke to St. Louis Magazine, discussing his core coaching philosophy and excitement to build in the Midwest. His playing style should sound familiar to Red Bulls fans.

“In other styles of play, just thinking about transition, when we lose the ball, what is our action?” said Carnell. “Is our action to all run back, get behind the ball, and protect our goals, which is common or traditional? Our way is slightly different. We feel that if we lose the ball that was our possession. We want it back, so we’re going to go and hunt it back quickly. This is called a counter-pressing action. So when we’re scouting individuals and a player has this skill set, this is something that attracts us to the player. Are they willing to run? Are they dynamic? Are they fast? Are they physically gifted in terms of holding the intensity of our game that’s going to be relentless for 90 minutes?”

The Arches [I don’t actually know their nickname and, what’s more, don’t care.] are set to begin play in 2023. The club has over a year to build a roster, which already includes left back Selmir Pidro. There’s also a full reserve team competing this season in MLS Next Pro, a sort of year-long audition for potential talents.

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After missing a month with injury, former (current?) Red Bulls transfer target Andrés Cubas returned to the pitch. The Paraguayan international played 75 minutes in Ligue 2 action. Unfortunately, Nîmes Olympique dropped a 3-0 decision to Amiens SC, which could be the fault of the defensive midfielder but also maybe not because I didn’t watch the highlights.

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Esbjerg fB returned from the winter break, taking on Fremad Amager in the tier of Danish soccer. The West Jutland club dropped a 4-2 decision, giving up three consecutive goals. Mathias Jörgensen entered the match in the 73rd minute, a bench option despite the usage of a two-striker formation.

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Former Red Bulls academy and reserve player Daniel Bedoya signed a new contract with FC Tucson. The 28-year-old midfielder made 29 appearances with the USL League One club last season. “He’s a consummate professional and has great experience,” said Tucson boss Jon Pearlman. “He came off the bench for us and had some really huge moments for us last year and was a key reason why we got to the playoffs.”

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Joel Lindpere appeared on the latest episode of the Estonian Football Podcast (“2 [sic] Englishmen diving into the wonders of Estonian football”). The JK Tallinna Kalev sporting director and board member is worried about the 2022 Meistriliiga season, with business being completed only a few days before matches start and minimal training. He even discussed his time with the Red Bulls.

“Competing with those guys was the most challenging time in my career,” said Lindpere. “It was an honor to play with those guys, and I know how much I worked to play and train with those guys. This made me feel that I learned a lot from them… I understand it’s not so difficult. I can be one of them. I’m just little Joel Lindpere from small country Estonia and never had a chance to play in a really top league even though, when I played in Norway, I got a proposal from Stoke City… I was a team player… I was the top assist guy in my team, for sure. I supported my team.”

Lindpere describes the New York tenure as “the best time of his career.” He enjoyed the big city lifestyle, meeting different people and always having something to do. Noting the culture shock, the midfield went from “salmon and reindeer” in Tromsø to playing alongside superstars. There were also a few teammates who really enjoyed the nightlife, but no names were given.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Marjorie of Freehold.

Salmon and reindeer would be a great pairing for a surf-and-turf night.

Thank you, Marjorie. I’m sure that would go lovely with a baked potato and some green beans.

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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.