Welcome to the New York Red Bulls Paper Revue presented by Once a Metro.
Are there a lot of stories this week? No, there are not.
Is that my fault? No, it is not.
Will I feel bad about my inability to divine content from the ground? Yes, I will.
Here’s this week’s top story.
Say what you will about the brevity of his contract, but Elias Manoel appears to be receiving a real shot with the Red Bulls. The Brazilian attacker has already made two starts, both at striker. Now, we can quibble about whether he would be better deployed on the wing, but the safest assumption is that sporting professionals know slightly more about the game than indolent bloggers.
Coincidentally, Grêmio could probably use him at the moment. In position for promotion to the top tier, the Imortal Tricolor (Immortal Tricolor) are down to a mere two forwards after Janderson fractured two vertebrae. The club is stuck with Guilherme and Biel, the latter of whom only just returned after “muscle pain in his right thigh.”
Grêmio has been forced “to adapt players to the role,” shifting midfielders into wingers. Things should be fine, although promotion could require 19 points out of the final 33, which is achievable but by no means guaranteed. A win and draw from the past four matches might be cause for concern, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Despite largely having been out of the squad figuratively and literally for months, Elias is still the second-highest scorer this season with seven goals. No givesies-backsies and all, but who’s to say what happens at the end of his loan? Perhaps the Red Bulls exercise the contract option or maybe Grêmio remains in Série B, granting him another opportunity to lead the formation.
At the end of the recent summer window, the reserve team signed Stiven Plaza from Real Valladolid on what was described as a “free transfer.” However, Diario de Valladolid claimed the move as coming “at practically zero cost,” which is by definition not nothing. The acquisition is a low risk, potentially high reward sort of deal, rolling the dice on a formerly heralded talent. The 23-year-old striker’s time in Spain could have gone a lot better, but who knows what the future can hold?
Of course, any on-field success might turn that “free transfer” into “mostly free” if the Ecuadorian starts banging in goals or is sold in the future. “The rest are conditioned to variables, both San Emeterio, as well as Toni Villa and Stiven Plaza,” said Valladolid manager Fran Sánchez, describing the club’s recent deals. “In all of them, except in Rubén Alcaraz, we have the percentage of a future sale and if the teams where they are meet certain objectives, we could benefit from it.”
There you have it, probably. The Red Bulls signed Plaza without spending any money… so far. I wonder how many of “free agent” deals contain these long-term caveats.
Eons and eons ago, the Red Bulls had a player on a temporary contract by the name of Ashley Fletcher. After a brief journey together, the two sides parted. He returned to Watford and subsequently embarked on a loan with Wigan Athletic.
The English striker of indeterminate height (ESoIH) made his debut for the Latics, appearing for four minutes in a 2-1 victory over Luton Town. The manager intends to bring him along slowly, which is smart. However, the clock is ticking on the former Mancunian’s career.
“I’m at a place now where I haven’t played as many games over the past few years as I would have liked,” shared Fletcher with Wigan Today. “For me, that’s unacceptable, and something I want to put right. I’m 26 years old now, and I can’t afford to waste any more time. When Wigan came to me and presented the opportunity and I spoke to the manager, I felt it was an absolute no-brainer.”
The 32nd (XXXII) Kazimierz Deyna Memorial Tournament took place in Garfield, New Jersey over the weekend. Last year’s “Honorary Guest,” Patryk Klimala, made an appearance. He served as a coach during the friendly match, leading Team Kownacki in the absence of boxer Adam Kownacki.
The event featured catering by Piast Meats & Provisions, a polish beer garden, performances by the band Wehikuł Czasu, and an appearance by the… former president of the Polish Communist Party… which all just sounds like a real scream.
Breiðablik’s cup run ended in the semifinals with a 3-0 loss to Knattspyrnufélagið Víkingur. Omar Sowe did not play and was not on the bench. Someone should figure out what is going on there, but it definitely shouldn’t be me.
The end of the transfer deadline provides an opportunity for all manner of catching up with old names.
For example, did you know that Issiar Dramé joined Sporting Club Bastiais (or SC Bastia) of France’s Ligue 2? The 23-year-old 6’6” center back was a free agent after departing FC Lviv of the Ukrainian Premier League in the spring. His contract is for three years, which is a nice bit of security for a young player in need of some stability and experience. He should be in the lineup after some visa issues get cleared up, the mark of a true Red Bull player.
I hope the Stade Armand-Cesari has tall door frames.
Former Red Bulls Academy, U-23, and II-team star Brian Saramago [Two out of three ain’t bad.] found a new home. After a stint with NK Rudar Velenje in the Slovenian Second League, the 23-year-old attacker joined B-SAD, formerly known as Os Belenenses – Sociedade Desportiva de Futebol, a name desperate for abbreviation. The club competes in the second-tier Liga Portugal 2, which appears to be a solid step up the European ladder for him.
B-SAD has a complicated history, demanding an explanation that goes far beyond my capabilities and the space provided in the Paper Revue. Basically, Belenenses created a Sociedade Anónima Deportiva (Portuguese company designation), with an investor acquiring 51% of the company. Business drama yadda yadda yadda, club and company split in 2018. The company kept the team and players, while the “club” (Belenenses) maintained the branding and history while reforming in a lower division. B-SAD was relegated from the Primeira Liga last season, while Belenenses was promoted from the Campeonato de Portugal into the third-tier Liga 3, potentially setting up a heated on-field battle in the near future.
Of course, that’s not Saramago’s problem. B-SAD is trying to avoid another relegation with four points from the first five matches. Thankfully, luck seems to be turning with a 3-1 last weekend over C.D. Nacional.
After months and months and months of rehabilitation, Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra is back on the field and what a return it was.
Al-Taawoun was locked in battle with Al-Nassr. Kaku entered the match in the 71st minute. Ever the dramatist, he waited until the 12th minute of relegation, finding Sumayhan Al-Nabit for the match-winning goal.
That’s just vintage Kaku. Force a turnover, look up the field, and play an incisive through-ball to a streaking teammate (ignore the injured opponent on the ground). I always enjoy watching players thrive.
Is Eli Dasa signing with the Red Bulls?
No, obviously that ship has sailed.
Those doors have closed.
Is the winger returning to his home nation of Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv?
That also appears to be unlikely.
No, the 29-year-old is reportedly on the move to Russia. He is said to be signing for Dynamo Moscow and will sign a “two-year contract.” The deal is set to be announced on Monday… which is today.
We actually have no idea if Dasa was ever connected to the Red Bulls. That’s the magic of the transfer market, the cold pawing around in the dark. Conrado is still at Lechia Gdańsk, in case you’re wondering.
Anatole Abang may have finally found his place in the world. The Cameroonian striker joined Al Bataeh Club last season and led the relative newcomers to promotion to the UAE Pro League. Despite his early success, the 26-year-old promises he is just getting started.
“I will be keen to do better than I did in the First Division,” said Abang. “In the end, my confidence in myself, my teammates, and the technical and administrative staff at [the club] is great. We are ready to present the new team in the most beautiful form.”
Despite the jump up the pyramid, Al Bataeh opened the season with a 2-0 win over Al-Ittihad Kalba. Abang didn’t score, but he did start and go the full 90 minutes. The goals will come.
Also coming is a little season called autumn, so bundle up.
Loans, schmoans! Youba Diarra is with RB Salzburg!
The Malian midfielder has made three appearances this season for the 16-time Austrian champions and only suffered one injury! (That was mean. I apologize.)
Signifying his true return to the fold, Diarra found the back of the net in a recent 2-0 victory over WSG Tirol. The former New York enigma gathered a layoff while turning at the edge of the area and ripped a shot on the turn for a rare appearance on the scoresheet.
⚽Youba Diarra's first competitive goal, and a poacher's finish from Okafor.— FC Red Bull Salzburg EN (@FCRBS_en) September 5, 2022
The goals from our win over Tirol are available now: pic.twitter.com/vCYjcLPzFF
There was never any doubt of Diarra’s abilities, merely his health. Personally, I’m surprised he wasn’t brought back to New York this season considering the year spent on his rehabilitation. Should the team shouldering the roster and financial burden not in turn receive the fruits of the labors?
I suppose football, like life, isn’t fair, but it certainly is fairer to some.
I know you didn’t miss last week’s biggest transfer news.
In case you did, I am pleased to announce that former Red Bulls U-23 (R.I.P.) center back Jean-Claude Billong has a new club. The 28-year-old Frenchman departed Clermont Foot and signed a three-year deal with CFR Cluj of the Romanian Liga I. Despite playing 22 minutes against Lorient on Wednesday, he is forgoing his final season and instead heading to Transylvania.
I bet Romania is fun. I hope Billong enjoys his time at his new club.
I don’t mean to make light of things, but Fábio Gomes was so bad at Atlético Mineiro tha-
“HOW BAD WAS HE?”
Oh, uh, he was SO bad at Atlético Mineiro that the club’s former performance analysts are forced to explain his signing!
That’s not a punchline. That’s what actually happened. Fred Fortes, recently employed by Atlético Mineiro, was interviewed on Breno Galante’s YouTube channel and discussed what brought the ill-fitting striker to the club following a thorough analysis by the Galo Information Center, whose recruitment holds a sterling reputation.
“It could be the psychological side, but it’s hard for us to nail it,” he shared. “An analysis and cross-referencing of data are carried out within the metrics, but I think there is still room for feeling. Numbers are not everything. The numbers are there to help you filter within a large universe of players. We filter, get to the numbers, but then you can no longer see it on a computer. You have to watch the player on the spot – two, three, four games – and see how the player performs on the field… It would be right to take how the team plays into consideration. I don’t know if they took it because I wasn’t in the decision room.”
Fábio is now on loan with Vasco da Gama in Série B, waiting to find the back of the net for the first time. He has made four appearances and earned his first start in a 1-0 loss to Brusque Futebol Clube. His contract with Atlético Mineiro lasts through… 2025, which hopefully includes a sky-high buyout.
Last time we checked in with Daniel Royer, he was reportedly on the radar of SV Ried. The 32-year-old played with the Austrian Bundesliga club in 2010 and 2011, which is over a decade ago. He has been out of contract since departing the Red Bulls in the winter.
The manager confirmed that there was contact, but, alas…yeah. “There was a conversation with his advisor,” said Christian Heinle. “Ultimately, a commitment was not an issue for us. We were looking for a different type of player. In addition, Daniel Royer has not played a game for eight months. The risk would have been too great for us.”
Uhh… well… I guess Royer will have to look elsewhere. There are plenty of clubs out there looking for a player who can score and provide veteran stability. Of course, sometimes you don’t retire from the game as much as the game retires you, but that’s nowhere near his situation.
The hottest party of the year is on Saturday, September 10th at the Oppdal Cultural Center in Oppdal, Norway. I’m going to be getting down and boogieing to the record spinning and turn-tabling of the one and only DJ Jan Gunnar Solli. Buy a VIP ticket and get into the… nachspiel (Urban Dictionary says this is an after party) at… Spisbar, which offers “good and varied dishes… ranging from homemade burgers to steak and pizza made in a stone oven.”
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Evelyn of West Deptford.
“The cultural center is what I call the doctor’s office.”
Thank you, Evelyn. Like throat culture swabs – I get it.
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.