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Red Bulls Paper Revue: May 9, 2022

Kaku makes various returns, Bento Estrela represents Portugal, and Markus Holgersson sells his brewery in this week’s links

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MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls
Does Tom Edwards still have a future at Stoke City?
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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

Do you ever read a great book and feel absolutely miserable that you’re forced to leave the immersed world forever? Even if you try to consume the story again, things won’t be the same. You have to enjoy the journey one time, and that’s all you get. It’s almost enough to make a person stop reading rather than be transported into such a lovely mental place and have it ripped away.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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In human interest news, Lucas Lima LinharesLuquinhas to you – had quite the journey to professional soccer. He made many sacrifices, solely focused on making his dream come true. His parents also provided support, hoping to help off-set the challenges.

“He walked in São Paulo and Bahia, went hungry and slept in airports,” his mother told the Portuguese paper of record… Record… in 2016. “He suffered a lot. I would send money to someone, convinced that I was taking care of him, and I wasn’t. I even borrowed it from a loan shark. He ate tomato rice, but he didn’t tell me so as not to worry me. He was very deceived.”

Despite the setbacks, Luquinhas continued pushing and refused to give up. As a teenager, he moved from Brazil and joined Portuguese side Vilafranquense, which provided a massive boost to his career. His parents approved the decision, which is certainly more accommodating than mine would have been.

“A friend who saw him said he had football so he wouldn’t stay in Brazil,” said Luquinhas’ father, a vegetable seller. “We allowed it, of course. If we didn’t let him go, we’d be spoiling the dream.”

Signing for Benfica made his family cry tears of joy. The club described the “unselfish” midfielder as a “corkscrew” due to his ability to “find spaces where others have difficulty.” While Luquinhas never made a first-team appearance, he was able to build a solid career with stops at Aves, Legia Warsaw, and, now, the New York Red Bulls.

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Last month, we heard that the Red Bulls were connected to Austrian midfielder Dominik Baumgartner during the winter. Despite his agent flying over to the states to “complete the transfer,” the player stayed at Wolfsberger AC. According to a new interview with Kicker, the situation was closer to complete than previously reported.

“Back then in the winter [a move to New York] was already very concrete and I had actually decided to do that as well,” said Baumgartner. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out because the clubs didn’t find each other. But you can tell in general that the league has developed extremely there, I also watched a few games when the topic became more specific. It’s no longer the case that only veterans come into the league; the league also has some very good young players. That’s why the step would have been very interesting for me, I would have liked to have done it, but it wasn’t supposed to be and that’s okay. But it’s less of an issue at the moment.”

Wolfsberger opted to extend his contract through June of 2023, but that may not stop a move this coming summer. “The club took the option and it was clear to me that they would do it,” shared the 25-year-old native of Horn. “But that doesn’t have a big impact on a possible future transfer, except that the other club has to pay something for me (laughs). In principle, I can’t say much about it at the moment, of course there are talks and concrete offers. We’ll see how it will be in the summer. Now I’m concentrating on the WAC and hope that we can reach the international places.”

Hmm.

Hm. Hm. Hm.

Hm. Hm.

Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Hmm.

I don’t actually know if we should read into any of this.

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You might be thinking, “Why come Stoke City need defender but no call Tom Edwards?”

That is a very good question, one that a former teammate is weighing. In his column for the Stoke Sentinel, Major League Soccer superstar Ryan Shawcross wonders whether his former back-line partner would be a good fit for the Potters. He even provides a handy user guide.

“I’m surprised that Tom Edwards isn’t at the club to stake his claim,” wrote Shawcross. “He’s shown talent over here in the US. It’s only my opinion but he’s more than good enough to play in the Championship. Obviously the manager hasn’t seen what I see in him and it’s his call. Tom needs a bit of love and encouragement – and, every now and again, someone to tell him the truth. It’s probably why I got on with him. I’d big him up but also give him the old chat. He took it well and I felt we saw the best of him when I played next to him in the second half of 2018/19.”

We all need love and encouragement, even you dear reader. I don’t care what everyone says. I don’t think you’re a stupid animal unworthy of affection.

***

Breiðablik romped in Besta-deild karla action, defeating Íþróttabandalag Akraness by a 5-1 margin. Omar Sowe entered proceedings in the 68th minute, assisting Anton Logi Lúðvíksson on the quintan goal. Blikar tops the table with a perfect record through four matches.

I can’t find a highlight of the assist, but, hey, it’s probably out there, somewhere, right in the drawer next to all of your forgotten hopes and dreams.

***

Bento Estrela received another call-up to the Portugal program, this time to the U-16 National Team. He is participating in the UEFA Development Tournament against Belgium, Italy, and the United States. The 16-year-old midfielder joined the Red Bulls in February of 2021 and has yet to make an appearance with the senior or reserve team.

Portugal took down Belgium in the first match, 4-1. Estrela entered the match in the 78th minute. In the second fixture, A Seleção (The Selection) triumphed again with a 1-0 victory over Italy. The young Red Bull had another substitute appearance.

The unique presence of a player based in the United States is causing a bit of a stir. “I feel Portuguese and I represent our colors,” Estrela told the Portugal Football Federation’s official website. “I have to do my best for the shield I carry on my chest. Of course, the game against the United States will be very special for me, because that’s where I spend most of my time, none of that will matter. I will want to give everything so that we reach our goals. I don’t think about what will come, to be honest. Value and see how things go. Performing at the highest level in this tournament is the biggest objective I have today.”

***

Upon recovering from his cruciate ligament rupture, Kaku is set to rejoin Al-Taawoun next season, ideally during summer training. The midfielder went back to South America for “ligament reconstruction,” enduring “two treatment and rehabilitation programs under the supervision of specialists.” Last month, he stopped by the old stomping grounds of Club Atlético Huracán, taking in a match against Club Atlético Colón.

I’m sure Kaku will soon be making a celebratory trip to Red Bull Arena. Does anybody really care at this point? The fans would probably welcome him back.

***

In case you are wondering, Kemar Lawrence is still confident. The Jamaican left back has walked into Minnesota United and secured a spot on the back line. After all, that’s what he does.

“You ever watch me, all my career?” Lawrence asked a reporter with the Star Tribune. “I always start. Not to be cocky or anything. That’s just me. I always have, even in Europe.”

The 29-year-old has made five appearances for Minnesota United this season. The Loons are at seventh place in the Western Conference but will not play the Red Bulls this season. You can keep up with him on ESPN+ or whatever.

Or don’t! I don’t care. Watch whatever you want.

***

Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Choo Choo! All aboard the Swindon Town train! Next stop: League One!

The Robins soared into the League Two promotion playoffs with a 3-0 win over Walsall. Mandela Egbo played a key role on the first goal. The English fullback “stormed down the right, dribbling past several half-hearted tackles and seeing his eventual shot blocked once he reached the penalty area.” A teammate received the gift and converted.

The two-leg playoff semifinal starts next weekend. Swindon hosts Port Vale on Saturday, May 15th. After that, the Robins travel to Vale Park for the decider. Could a date at Wembley follow?

***

Help is on the way!

With relegation looming, Esbjerg fB had “one more card to play.” Mathias Jørgensen recovered from his injury and was able to do full training. The attacker could surely provide a boost as the schedule winds down in the second division of Danish soccer.

Down 2-1 to HB Køge, Jørgensen entered in the 71st minute, ready to strike a blow for good and take a massive step toward avoiding the drop…

He didn’t score. Esbjerg lost. Fairy tales don’t exist. You probably won’t marry the person you should.

With four matches remaining, Esbjerg is four points from safety. Jørgensen should click his heels and go back to Scoring Land. Time is of the essence.

***

Reserve team goalkeeper Derrek Chan was interviewed by World Journal. He discussed his journey and quite impressive mindset that guided him to professional soccer. The 23-year-old joined the club during the winter transfer window from the University of California, Davis and has made one appearance this season in the USL Championship.

***

Former reserve team attacker Cherif Dieye landed with Central Valley Fuego FC in USL League One. He was selected with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Louisville. The 25-year-old made 15 appearances, contributing one goal and four assists.

***

Former reserve team goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu was profiled by USSoccer.com. The 26-year-old Ghanaian has led Union Omaha to the Round of 32 of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He is considered something of a penalty kick savant, denying opportunities at key moments.

“Just stay calm,” said Nuhu, providing good advice that goes beyond soccer. “I just can’t get frustrated because whenever you start getting frustrated, you misread stuff. I just try to stay calm and have confidence. I’ll just do my best. Hopefully, that helps us all out… [I watch] kind of how they put the ball down and line up to the ball. I just pick a spot and just go all-out for that spot.”

Nuhu was selected with the 70th overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. In 2019, he made four appearances for Red Bulls II. Last season, the goalkeeper helped Union Omaha win the USL regular season and playoff championships, while claiming Goalkeeper of the Year and the Golden Glove Award.

***

Speaking of former Red Bulls transfer rumors [I think we were, like a few stories up. I can’t be bothered to check.], Darragh Lenihan has another suitor. The Blackburn Rovers defender added a new name to the dance card, with West Bromwich Albion hoping to take him for a spin. He is set to be a free agent, although the Red Bulls probably missed their window on that one.

***

Yeah, Ernst Öbster is still kicking around. You remember him, right, honeybunch? He was that Austrian player who joined New York from Salzburg in 2009 and made five total appearances.

Anyway, Öbster spoke to Kronen Zeitung about the financial woes at Wacker Innsbruck. More importantly, he is still competing with SV Friedburg in the fourth-tier Oberösterreich Liga (Upper Austria League). “Football is still a lot of fun for me,” said the 38-year-old midfielder.

***

What’s Amir Murillo up to? The Anderlecht fullback was at the World Padel Tour, taking in the festivities and holding up his thumb, perhaps indicating good tidings. Padel is neither paddle tennis nor platform tennis but yet another racket sport played on a small, enclosed court that uses tennis-style scoring and is actually closer to squash.

When not taking in obscure sports [Sorry, but it is.], Murillo can be found holding down the right back position on the Anderlecht back line. He recently played in the final of the Beker van België (Belgian Cup), losing on penalties to KAA Gent. The Panamanian missed his attempt, which would have extended the shootout to a sixth round.

Win some, lose some. At least there’s padel. He’ll always have padel.

***

You may recall that former Red Bull Markus Holgersson was the owner of Råå Brewery in Sweden. “Was” being the key word because the company has been sold to Ess Group, which has “a number of hotels and restaurants” across Scandinavia. The player was supposedly looking to sell, but only recently did the chance present in the midst of a normal business transaction.

“I called and asked if [Holgersson] wanted to make beer in larger volumes and I was happy when he said yes,” said Ess Group executive Patrick Olsson. “Then I asked if the brewery was still for sale. He answered yes. That was in January. In April, we received the keys. The brewery is a very small business. When we looked at this commercially, we realized that it is not easy to run a small brewery, but under the conditions, they have done everything right. They have maintained a fantastically fine quality and focused on classic beer styles without having too large a range.”

According to Homer Simpson’s favorite publication, Beer News, Holgersson continues to work at Råå, “but he will soon leave.” Who knows where his post-playing career will lead next? Can this budding industrialist and entrepreneur eventually end up on Sweden’s version of Shark Tank, known as Draknästet (“The Dragons’ Nest”)? Start-up culture does seem like the sort of thing that would appeal to former athletes.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Phyllis of Evesham Township.

Back in my day, ‘selling one’s company’ had an entirely different meaning.

Thank you, Phyllis. You don’t have to put on the red light.

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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.