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Red Bulls Paper Revue: March 28, 2022

The Austrian rumor mill churns, Kevin Thelwell makes his opening moves at Everton, and Daniel Royer re-emerges in this week’s links

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SOCCER: MAY 15 MLS - New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union
Will Daniel Royer be back on his feet soon?
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

The best time to buy ground turkey at my local supermarket and probably yours is the week after Thanksgiving. It is unbelievably cheap because those massive unsold carcasses have to go somewhere. We are talking, like, two pounds for $5. I don’t know what you’re going to do with this information today, in March, but try to remember that for eight months from now.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Well, the Austrian Men’s National Team did it. They lost in World Cup qualifying to Wales, 2-1, unable to prevent international window Gareth Bale from grabbing his Power Morpher and yelling “Mae’n Amser Newid.” Das Team (The Team), Burschen (The Boys), and Unsere Burschen (Our Boys) will not be making the journey to Qatar.

Traditionally, when a national team fails to reach the finals, the manager is let go, sometimes in a mutual parting of the ways. Austria appears to be considering the options and not pulling any triggers. As Laola1 states, “The Franco Foda era is not yet over,” as his contract lasts through March 31st. There may even be a contract extension on the horizon.

“Of course he’s on the bench against Scotland on Tuesday,” said executive Gerhard Milletich. “You have to analyze the whole thing a bit, sleep on it. At the moment it’s premature to say how quickly we’ll find a solution. It can be a solution with Foda or one without. Nothing can be ruled out at the moment. [We will] find a solution in April that will take us further.”

Foda has held the job since January of 2018, which is an eternity in the world of international football. Kronen Zeitung writes that the federation has “already held talks with new candidates.” Since you’re reading this website, I’m sure you’re aware of a potential manager whose name has been whispered in overseas media for months now. Der Standard took the hat from Gerhard Struber and threw it into the ring, if it wasn’t there already.

As we know from Austrian journalist Peter Linden, the manager’s agent was reportedly in town last week for an unstated reason.

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The subject of a transfer rumor, Jürgen Heil, discussed his situation with Kleine Zeitung. The 24-year-old TSV Hartberg midfielder is set to be a free agent this upcoming summer, and the club “would like to keep the veteran rock.” He was connected to the Red Bulls in February, but there was no further information on that story.

Heil harbors no intentions of turning this into a drawn-out saga, perhaps out of respect for Hartberg. “I won’t wait until July with my decision,” he said. “When the [Austrian Bundesliga] is over, there should be clarity… I’m a player who talks a lot. I try to help everyone, the 19 year olds and the 30 year olds. That’s how I am. And in the current situation, I have to be there even more.”

Hartberg seems confident Heil will stay. Chairman Erich Korherr believes players only leave the Styrian outfit “if everything fits really well with the new club.” However, after seven years at the club, perhaps he is looking for a change of scenery or to test himself in a new environment.

Or, heck, maybe Heil is one of those musical-loving weirdos and wants to idle around Shubert Alley.

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Speaking of recent transfer rumors, Darragh Lenihan suffered a torn groin and will likely be out “for a couple of weeks.” The 28-year-old was forced to miss out on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, his first call-up in a year. The injury comes at a tough time for English Championship side Blackburn Rovers, currently engaged in a promotion playoff dogfight.

“Lenihan, no-one deserves it more than Lenihan,” said manager Tony Mowbray. “He’s been amazing for us. With his contractual situation I’ve not had to question his mindset but the professionalism he’s shown when he’s running out of contract has been amazing.”

Blackburn has won twice in the past ten matches. The center back cannot return soon enough. After that, well, that’s for the transfer market to decide.

***

The New York Red Bulls’ data scientist, Sam Goldberg, appeared on the Training Ground Guru Scouting and Recruitment Webinar. He discussed what is required to build “a data-driven culture” at a club. According to a snippet of his presentation posted on Twitter, the necessary aspects are “transparency, communication, alignment, willingness to adapt & development, and developing mutual respect.”

“You can drive a car without mirrors, but you’ll be more prone to accidents,” said the minor-league baseball player. Prior to joining the Red Bulls, he worked with D.C. United and the Chicago Cubs. This interview with No Glass in the Clouds from a few years ago is a pretty enlightening glimpse into his thought process, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

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The Uganda national team departed Entebbe International Airport for Uzbekistan and the 2022 Navruz Cup. New York reserve team midfielder Steven Sserwadda is along for the ride, on the Cranes’ roster for the four-team tournament. The squad was assembled with an eye on the upcoming African Cup of Nations and African Nations Championship (two different competitions).

The tournament opened with a thrilling 1(5)-1(4) shootout victory over Tajikistan. Sserwadda started the match on the bench, joining proceedings in the 70th minute. The Cranes advance to the final to face off against the hosts on March 29th at Namangan’s Markaziy Stadium.

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The Goalkeeper Analysis channel on YouTube posted a video analyzing the save made by Carlos Coronel to deny former Red Bull Derrick Etienne. The Brazilian’s footwork and decision-making skills under pressure are praised, particularly the ability to drop back to prevent the chip before stepping forward to close down angles. However, the content creator notes that the structure of the defense prior to the breakaway needed adjustments which could have been fixed with better communication.

While the future is indeterminate, the Red Bulls have possibly locked down the goalkeeper position for the next decade, a load off the minds of present and future sporting department personnel.

***

KVC Westerlo got back on the horse, downing Lierse Kempenzonen by a 2-0 margin. David Jensen was forced to solve a problem of his own design. The Danish goalkeeper went to ground but mistimed his dive, fouling an opponent in the box. However, he was able to save the ensuing penalty, which is always nice.

Westerlo has a seven-point lead at the top of the Belgian First Division B table.

***

*Kicks open doors of the courthouse, begins to run down steps, and trips on shoelaces.*

The Court of Sports Justice of Minas Gerais reached a verdict in the Fábio Gomes case that captivated people around the world. He was given a penalty of time served, a one-match suspension. The striker got into a shoving match with defender Rafael Caldeira of Democrata GV. There was the potential for a penalty of up to 12 fixtures.

Fábio was free to re-join his club for the 2022 Campeonato Mineiro semifinals. Atlético Mineiro won the first leg over Caldense by a 2-0 margin on the strength of a Hulk brace. The former Red Bull striker probably provided moral support from the bench or stared menacingly at opposing defenders.

***

Kevin Thelwell is already making some interesting moves at Everton, but reports “The Boys Are Back in Town” being blasted over the loudspeakers at Goodison Park remain unconfirmed.

According to Training Ground Guru, the recent Red Bulls executive convinced Dan Purdy to return. He reportedly failed to mesh with Rafael Benitez, who “wanted more control over recruitment,” departing after what is described as a “power struggle.” The former scouting and operations manager left three months ago and will return as director of football, which is a borderline Seinfeld-level reversal of fortune.

Thelwell is also hunting for “a new recruitment lead,” which probably won’t also be an ex-Everton employee… probably.

***

Remember Amro Tarek? Of course you do. He only left last year.

The Egyptian center back spoke with Youm7 about “his personal life and hobbies,” letting fans get behind the curtain. Did you know that he “sometimes” likes to cook and that his favorite food is barbecue? Were you aware that Tarek’s favorite player is Mohamed Salah. Perhaps you craved the knowledge that his preference is for casual over formal clothing.

On the field, he’s doing okay after overcoming a hamstring injury. Tarek has started the last six Egyptian Premier League fixtures for El Gouna, which is on an unfortunate three-match losing streak. The Gounies (“Baby… Ruth.”) are at 12th in the 18-team table.

***

I’m sure you’re wondering what Daniel Royer is doing. I am too. The Red Bull legend-ish remains a free agent after departing the club at the end of the 2021 MLS season.

He did pop up on the radar… maybe. As we learned during the recent Patryk Klimala transfer to-do, obscure Polish Twitter accounts are of unimpeachable integrity and are to be believed without question. “Daniel Royer was in agreement with one of the clubs of the [Ekstraklasa], but for political reasons he did not decide to sign the contract,” published PlotekTransferowy (“Collection of transfer gossip. We follow every move on the market.”).

There you have it: Daniel Royer was maybe going to Poland, but now he isn’t. Uhh… yeah. Neat… o. Lots of content during international breaks.

*Looks around awkwardly.*

Soooo… did you know there is a character named Daniel Royer in the 2005 TNT miniseries Into the West played by beloved character actor David Paymer? What… a… coincidence. We don’t have to talk about how many Red Bulls players struggle to find a new club or settle for a much lower level after leaving, which possibly indicates something about past roster construction.

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Former MetroStar/Red Bull Mike Magee is building a distillery/tasting room in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The facility will showcase his Sneaky Fox vodka brand and also feature a “street soccer field.” His hope is to be a foundational part of the Lower West Side community.

“Pilsen felt right,” Magee told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We want to totally ingrain ourselves in the entire community and see an opportunity. Being born and raised in Chicago has stuck with me everywhere I’ve [gone]. I lived in LA and New York and all I do is tell people how Chicago is the best city in the world. I saw an opportunity to make it even better.”

After being selected with the fourth pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Magee played for New York from 2003 through 2008, describing the environment as “a bit of a disaster.” Retired since 2016, he is described as “a full-blown Fire fan while also supporting the LA Galaxy.” Some feelings toward his first club were never exactly private.

In 2011, he spoke up about the Red Bulls’ awkward phasing out of Juan Pablo Ángel. “If I have my facts right, I think they told him midway through the year that they weren’t going to pick up his option,” Magee told MLSSoccer.com. “First of all, it’s not right to tell someone that and he still scored double-digit goals. It’s really bizarre but … I’m not surprised… When I spent my time there, it kind of seems like a lot of things go the opposite of what you think.”

You may recall Magee scoring two goals in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs against the Red Bulls, with a somewhat vigorous celebration after the first. Actually, I hope you don’t remember that and instead fill your head with more useful knowledge. That would be a useless factoid to have swirling around your mind a decade later.

***

It’s been a busy month for Jan Gunnar Solli. The midfielder-defender-deejay rocked the ones and twos at Rauland Skisenter’s Power Climb 2022 in Rauland, Norway. He previously performed at the “folk festival” in 2019, providing a “good atmosphere.”

But that was weeks ago. Now Solli is in South Beach at Miami Music Week, enjoying the tunes and the rhythm. Perhaps he will find some new collaborators for his burgeoning career.

Just be careful of those pesky photographers and inquisitive snoops. We all remember back in 2004 when “Norway’s hottest football player” was linked with at the time royal grand-niece (through marriage) Pia Haraldsen by See and Hear. He laughed off any talk of a relationship between the two but was “not particularly happy” to have his private life splashed in the media.

“We are not close to being [in a relationship],” Solli told VG. “You can write that I laugh at See and Hear. It’s one big circus they’re doing.”

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Sadie of Pennsauken.

Life is a circus, and the biggest clown is my ex-husband.

Thank you, Sadie. I’m sure both of you tried your best.

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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.