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Red Bulls Paper Revue: March 21, 2022

Fábio Gomes goes to court, Gideon Baah returns to town, and the loose ends of the Klimala transfer slowly get tied up in this week’s links

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MLS. New York Red Bulls Vs Houston Dynamo, Major League Soccer regular season match at Red Bull Aren
Gideon Baah is finally back in New Jersey.
Photo by Tim Clayton/TIM CLAYTON/Corbis via Getty Images

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

Do you like March? I wish you would MARCH over to a mirror and make some life-affirming sentences. Have a good week, nay, a great week.

Here’s this week’s top story.

***

Perhaps you read our own Ben Cork’s reporting on that whole Patryk Klimala-solidarity payments situation. The New York Red Bulls made “all required payments,” expecting FIFA to “lift any sanctions shortly.” The air appears to have cleared in Poland as well.

Joanna Misiewicz, the reported Polish Football Federation employee providing Twitter tidbits throughout the whole saga, provided an update. “Little success,” she posted (translated via Google). “The New York Red Bulls paid our clubs. ‘Small’ because so far [it’s] the first installment. We keep fighting.”

In case you’re interested in reading about solidarity payments [And why wouldn’t you be?], FIFA publishes their rules online. You can also read about the transfer matching system and learn the process for signing futsal players. I’m sure this is great bedtime reading for the kids.

***

You probably saw this by now, but Lewis Morgan spoke to Sky Sports. The Red Bulls attacker received a big feature article, touching on everything from diddle-eyed Joe to damned-if-I-know. His goals for the season should be music to fans’ ears.

“Personally, I always want to be the best player in the league,” said Morgan. “It was my mindset last year and although it didn’t really transpire that way it doesn’t change my opinion this year. Being a forward player you always want to get double figures for goals and assists. And I think playing well here and trying to get myself back into the Scotland national team is the big aim for this year, but that’s only going to happen if I play well for [the] Red Bulls.”

Morgan should easily hit double-digit goals. As for the assist tally, well, he has one. The club is 11% of the way through the season, but his teammates could probably finish a little better.

***

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

A former reported transfer target is set to be on the market.

Red Bull Salzburg announced that Zlatko Junuzović will be departing the club this summer. The club will not renew his contract and is removing him from the matchday lineup. The 34-year-old midfielder has struggled to recover from injuries and “much younger players have done well recently.”

However, Junuzović should be able to refocus during this time. “It was anything but an easy decision for us,” said Salzburg executive Christoph Freund. “But we discussed it internally at length and in detail and ultimately came to the conclusion that we will not extend the contract. We made this decision out of him. For reasons of fairness, this was communicated early on to give him enough time to reorient himself. Even in the last few months, which have been difficult for him, Sladdi [a nickname] has never let himself down and has done everything to get his injury under control. I hope that he will soon be his old self again and we can find a perfect conclusion together with him and celebrate two more titles.”

“The player is understandably downbeat, coming to grips with his tenure coming to a close. “Of course I regret this decision because I really like being here in Salzburg and I had a great, successful time,” shared Junuzović. “But it is the way it is and I not only look back positively on my years at FC Red Bull Salzburg. I also look positively into the future. I will give everything for FC Red Bull Salzburg until the last day of my contract.”

Junuzović joined the club in 2018 from Werder Bremen and has racked up the expected Bundesliga and domestic cup titles. He is considered a “model professional” but has been limited to five appearances this season due to injuries. In those matches, the midfielder managed to rack up four assists, indicating that the talent level is still present, despite the ongoing health issues.

According to various reports last year, Gerhard Struber was pushing for a move. Although Junuzović will be unaffiliated with Red Bull this summer, thus negotiations may take a different tenor or not exist at all. Perhaps New York places a call, but the recent announcement probably signals a true parting of the ways.

Austrian journalist Peter Linden is on a similar wavelength but notes that Junuzović’s representative is currently in the United States. Of course, the agent also happens to have Gerhard Struber as a client. Perhaps they’re just enjoying a general howdy-do of a check-in and not discussing transfers.

On a similar note, the Austria Men’s National Team will face off against Wales on Thursday. The winner plays Scotland or Ukraine for a spot in the World Cup. Struber has been connected to the manager role over the past year and would be an intriguing option should the qualification campaign end in failure.

***

Remember last week when we joked about KVC Westerlo blowing the massive points lead at the top of the Belgian First Division B table and missing out on promotion?

Well, they’re certainly trying their damndest to prove us right. Westerlo dropped a 1-0 decision to Koninklijke Lierse Sportkring. David Jensen had a real whoopsie-doodle and would probably like to forget the match. He passed the ball directly to Thibaut Van Acker, who happens to be on the other team and scored on an empty net.

Thankfully, there isn’t a highlight. The moment can fade away into the ether of nothingne-… Oh, there is a highlight? Well, I suppose if we have a duty to our audience.

Roll it.

***

Things are looking pretty okay for Jesse Marsch at Leeds United. He reeled off wins against Norwich and Wolverhampton. Perhaps there’s a little bit of that old magic in this squad, the kind that Ian Wright expressed on BBC One.

“I asked Brad, ‘What’s he going to be like?’” said the Arsenal legend and footballing paterfamilias. “He said, ‘Very meticulous, he does a lot of work on the training field with the boys, and he is somebody that is brilliant at man-management. The boys are going to love him.’”

Marsch landed in a decent situation that should provide more time to implement his tactics and establish some measure of institutional change. Leeds is probably going to avoid relegation barring some extreme downturn in form. While there are difficult upcoming fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal, theoretical safety could be secured on April 9th against fellow relegation-battler Watford.

Also, feel free to mute the words “Lasso” and “huddle” to avoid the tedium of bored pundits searching for grist to feed their content mills.

Oh and by the by, the by, the by, this post from 2015 appears to be the first mention of “Marsch Madness” on Twitter, since that seemed to be a source of contention.

***

Everyone who does not have to appear in front of the Minas Gerais Sports Court of Justice, take one step forward… not so fast, Fábio Gomes.

The Brazilian striker is headed to trial on Tuesday, March 22nd after receiving a red card in the match against Democrata GV. He was sent off for a little tiff with defender Rafael Caldeira. His case involves the violation of article 254-A, I, which prohibits “Intentionally throwing punches, elbows, headbutts or similar blows to others, in a blunt way or assuming the risk of causing damage or injury to the person affected.”

If the court finds him guilty, he could be suspended for up to 12 matches. His club, Atlético Mineiro, is also dealing with the separate issue of fans allegedly using flares and throwing lighters in a match against rivals Cruzeiro. According to Globo, the hosts are “responsible for the security of the game” and could receive a fine of anywhere from $20 to $2000 not including “losing control of the field.”

Remember to listen to your lawyer and consider responding to all questions by pleading the quinto.

***

We have some ownership drama in the Netherlands, with a dash of growing understanding that tentacle football groups are the way of the future.

NAC Breda is up for sale. A “mysterious American investment company” known as Global Football Corporation and a local businessman “were recently named as potential owners.” The group reportedly includes former MetroStars executive Nick Sakiewicz as a “lead investor,” who was also hired last week by NHL team Arizona Coyotes.

GFC is reportedly looking to emulate Red Bull by creating a “family” of clubs, with NAC “as the flagship of the network.” The hope is “to train and sell local talent,” which is a solid business plan. According to local media, the investors see “a lot of potential” and “account for a capital of more than one billion euros.” The additional purchase of a Ligue 1 club is also “almost finished.”

Unfortunately, when you call down the rain of multi-club ownership, sometimes the wrong party catches wind. According to VoetbalPrimeur, the NAC supervisory board was unimpressed with Global Football Corporation. Enter a humble, little mom-and-pop organization called City Football Group which is planning a takeover. Representatives are in the Netherlands to “further clarify the interest.”

There has long been a relationship between the two clubs. At one point, there were six Manchester City players on loan at NAC. [Maybe more, I don’t care enough to look.] This would be CFG’s 11th takeover and perhaps one of the more reasonable acquisitions. Planting a flag in the development haven of the Netherlands probably should have happened much sooner.

Unable to accomplish grand designs, Global Football Corporation appears to have been pipped to the post, like when your fiancée’s “friend” comes back into town and all of a sudden your betrothal is meaningless in comparison to their passionate history. They’ll rebuild and rebound, maybe even with someone better, but a small part of their soul will forever remain trapped in the past with NAC. How sad.

***

NPSL side FC Motown has a big star on the roster, and his name is Gideon Baah. The former Red Bulls defender is leading the local club into the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and still hoping to make his way back to Europe. He was even profiled by the official U.S. Soccer website.

“The goal is to move as far as possible,” said Baah. “Not many teams have the chance to play for the Open Cup and I know what it means. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t find a way to meet one of the big teams from MLS. I think we can.”

Manager Šaćir Hot backs the defender for a leadership position, praising his “serious ability and serious experience.” The club opens the tournament on March 22nd against West Chester United SC at MSU Soccer Park in Montclair, New Jersey. A win lands them a date with AC Syracuse Pulse of the NISA and the chance to giant-kill an MLS opponent.

***

AS Monaco may have thumped PSG, 3-0, but changes are still coming to the Stade Louis II.

Seventh place is below the standard of the eight-time Ligue 1 champions. According to L’Équipe, ownership is “very disappointed by the poor results,” with majority owner and President Dmitry Rybolovlev ready to shake things up. On the chopping block is sporting director Paul Mitchell, who joined the club in June of 2020.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was a seemingly premature loss to Braga in the Europa League Round of 16. Mitchell’s appointment of manager Philippe Clement has also drawn criticism, deciding to part with Niko Kovač on New Year’s Day. The owner’s son-in-law, Juan Sartori, is said to be taking “a greater role at the club.”

“You should never have regrets in life,” Mitchell shared recently, touching on the manager switch. “I can make mistakes, of course. I’m a human being, but we did some very thorough analysis of the situation, with much more information than any commentator has. Sometimes you have to make decisions for the long-term. I know they’re not necessarily understood outside the club, but they’re made for the good of the club.”

Well, those “long-term plans’’ may be ending a bit prematurely. That doesn’t mean Mitchell is going to be sitting around for long. A few weeks ago, he met with Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford and watched the Manchester United U18 squad compete in the FA Youth Cup. He insists they’re just “close friends’’ and were enjoying a cup of coffee.

I had a girlfriend who would “get coffee” with her “close friend,” and, let me tell you, mmhmm.

***

Mandela Egbo appears to be enjoying life at Swindon Town. The former Red Bull came to the County Ground with the intention of staying fit but was charmed by the project. Like Eddie Murphy, he only needed 48 hours to experience a change of heart.

“To be perfectly honest, the initial plan was just to stay fit,” Egbo told the Swindon Advertiser. “That lasted about two days because I’ve seen the lads, I’ve seen the energy around the place, and I realized that if something was available then I would be more than willing to take it. That’s why I hung around for so long and kept training... I was kind of enjoying the break, I was enjoying just coming to terms with being a lad away from football, but it was definitely time to get back playing.”

He appears to be getting into the swing of things after a year with the Red Bulls reserves. Egbo has made two substitute appearances in consecutive victories and may have gotten away with a handball during the latter 2-1 win over Sutton United. Last weekend, he remained on the bench for the Robins’ 3-1 loss to Crawley Town.

The findings are irrefutable from the massive amount of data. If Egbo plays, Swindon wins. If he doesn’t, the team loses.

***

Former Red Bulls II goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley landed a new club. The 24-year-old signed with Tacoma Defiance in advance of the upcoming MLS Next Pro season. The Seattle, Washington native was on the books with FC Tucson last season and should enjoy the homecoming.

***

Let’s check in with Mathias Jörgensen.

The one-time Red Bulls striker has come off the bench four times for Esbjerg fB in the second tier of Danish soccer. He has scored zero goals in 80 minutes of play. The club has one win in the last eight matches and is two points above the relegation zone.

We might stop checking for a while.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Esther of Pennington.

“I haven’t been this disappointed by a Dane since Lars Ulrich sued Napster.

Thank you, Esther. I can’t believe that was over 20 years ago. Where does the time go?

***

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.