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Red Bulls Paper Revue: July 18, 2022

Fidel Escobar pops up in Costa Rica, Fredrik Gulbrandsen is just hanging out, and Gerhard Struber has eyes on his next job in this week’s links

New York Red Bulls v DC United
Fidel Escobar is back in Central America after his Spanish adventure.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

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

Sum 41 probably wouldn’t garner many inches in a hypothetical History of Music, if receiving any mention at all. But for like maybe a year or two, I bet it was pretty awesome being a member of the band. It probably still is. Way be better than my dumb life.

Here’s this week’s top story.


Luquinhas spoke to the official Red Bull website, discussing his time in New York. Since coming from Legia Warsaw, the Brazilian attacker has thrived. Roll the clip.

“I’m not surprised by my quick adaptation to the club,” said Luquinhas. “I want to make history at the New York Red Bulls. I hope to win a title for this team… I have a great respect for Gerhard Struber. He gives me a lot of confidence, and that has been instrumental in my performance.”

Struber considers the attacker a “great asset” with dribbling ability that is “from another planet.” Of course, the manager is a bit frustrated that officials are allowing opponents to foul him up and down the field. Shouldn’t a star be receiving due treatment, lest his brightness dim?


As the week continued, the love affair didn’t stop between the attacker and the manager.

Gerhard Struber spoke with Kicker about his past, present, and future. As is customary for this sort of thing, he enjoys being able to walk around without being recognized. Avoiding the invasive paparazzi is a clear reason for the Red Bulls’ success this season, which would perhaps be aided by an addition or two.

“We’re one step further than last year and we want to fight for the top spots in the play-offs,” said Struber. “Among other things, because of the Luquinhas transfer, [we have] a player who can make the difference. We have a very young and viable squad - but largely without mature top players, which can also be seen in our manageable salary costs compared to the rest of the league. We want to develop our young players and we’ve done very well so far. At the same time, we’re also doing better as a team, and that’s the big difference compared to last season. That gives us hope that we’ll end up in a really good place in the playoffs, which will give us home playoffs. In order to be able to achieve big goals, it would be important for us to strengthen ourselves again in the current transfer window, because we are also in the semi-finals of the cup. We want to do everything we can to win the first title there too.”

As for the next move, the manager seems fine in New York for now but not forever. “Luckily, I’ve always been able to choose where my journey is going,” shared the 45-year-old. “My wish is that I can maximize my success in my time here and that we achieve the goals that we have set ourselves. There are many things here that I enjoy and want to continue working on… One of my big goals is to work in a top European league like England or Germany. I’ve learned a lot in the last few years and was able to take a lot of important experiences with me. I feel ready to take the next big step.”

How long will Struber stay in New York? As you just read, he is ready to leave but has turned down European overtures over the past year. What will be the opportunity that finally entices him back across the pond?


Breiðablik triumphed in the first round of Europa Conference League qualifying, defeating UE Santa Coloma of Andorra by a 4-1 margin, 5-1 on aggregate. Omar Sowe entered the match in the 71st minute after all of the goals had been scored. Blikar earned two dates with FK Budućnost Podgorica of the Montenegrin First League, to be played July 21st and 28th.

The fun continued during domestic Besta-deild karla action. Breiðablik downed Knattspyrnudeild Keflavík by a 3-2 margin to open a six-point lead at the top of the table. Sowe scored the opening goal by latching onto a teammate’s header and was subbed out in the 63rd minute.


Jason Pendant certainly enjoyed an interesting start to his time at US Quevilly-Rouen Métropole. The French-Vietnamese defender played at center back in a 2-0 friendly loss to some little club in the city named Paris Saint-Germain. He played 45 minutes before being subbed out at halftime.


The Spanish adventure for Fidel Escobar has ended for now. The Panamanian defender has landed in Costa Rica with regional powerhouse Deportivo Saprissa on a six-month loan. After things at Alcorcón and Cultural Leonesa didn’t quite work out, he is looking forward to the new opportunity.

“The negotiation was made by my agent,” said the 27-year-old. “The negotiation was made by my agent. I left everything in his hands and the truth is that I come to the biggest club in Central America. For me it is an illusion to be here and I really want to start this… One has to come to Saprissa to compete because the fans demand a lot from you and that’s good for making them win on the field.”

Escobar is excited to put his experience into action. Los Morados (The Purple Ones) finished the most recent Clausura season in fourth place and were bounced from the playoffs. Perhaps his acquisition will add some silverware to the stuffed trophy case.


The Luca Lewis deal is official. The 21-year-old goalkeeper signed a two-year contract with A.C. Cesena through June of 2024. He spent the spring half of last season at the Serie C club as a training player.

Lewis commented on the move on his personal Instagram account. He claims to have waited “four months for [his] MLS transfer.” I’m not quite sure what that means considering the Red Bulls released him following the 2021 season, but what’s important is he can play for Cesena now.


You may be wondering where former academy player Benchy Estama is these days.

The answer is, obviously, the Taiwan Football Premier League. Estama competes with Taichung Futuro, considered a top player on the island since arriving in 2019. The 28-year-old Haitian won the Golden Boot that year and has continued scoring in bunches.


Victor Pálsson may have helped Schalke earn promotion to the Bundesliga, but there may be a different return on his mind. According to Sport1, the Icelandic midfielder is being targeted by D.C. United. As the capital club undergoes the always advisable midseason rebuild, he could add a bit of bite and experience to Wayne Rooney’s formation.

As you’re probably aware, a much, much younger Pálsson was with the Red Bulls in 2012. He made 17 total appearances before being sent on loan to Dutch outfit NEC, with the move quickly becoming permanent. Since then, the Reykjavík rover has… roved around Europe, traveling up and down the prestige ladder.

Do the Red Bulls still have his rights? No, no, of course they don’t.

But imagine if they did? It wouldn’t be unprecedented.


A familiar face popped at Lillestrøm. Now out of contract, Fredrik Gulbrandsen was spotted hanging around the Stadion and trying to stay sharp. The 29-year-old was recently with İstanbul Başakşehir and claimed the 2020 Turkish Süper Lig title.

“I have no club, so far,” said Gulby. “We’ll see what happens. I’m a little unsure myself, actually, and am a little open for the most part.”

Maybe he’s open to a return to MLS! I know a team that’s in the market for an attacker. Ha ha, ho ho, he he, we like to have fun around here.


Remember when recent trialist Mustafa Kizza was rumored to be joining Tanzanian side Young Africans? Well, you can forget about that. Erase it from your memory entirely.

The Ugandan senior international is, in fact, under contract with Futebol Clube de Arouca of the Portuguese Primeira Liga. He inked a three-year contract with the club based in the Porto suburbs (maybe an exurb – I have no idea). Arouquenses finished last season at 15th place in the 18-team table.


Joel Lindpere had a fun June, and we know this because of his monthly blog!

The Red Bulls legend and sporting director at JK Tallinna Kalev spent the month traveling with the club’s youth teams. First he went to Italy, meeting with the Napoli reserves for some player evaluation. The next stop on the itinerary was Germany, providing some new experiences to young Estonian talents.

“I got smarter and educated myself again,” wrote Lindpere, who assures that July will be just as “calm.” My idea of tranquility isn’t traipsing all over the continent, but I’m also a loser homebody. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I suppose. Although his life sounds more fun.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Geneva of Princeton.

The country is called GerMANY, but there’s only one of them.

Thank you, Geneva. I doubt you need any education because you’re smart enough already.


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