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Gerhard Struber with a target on his chest with the media

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

The local and National media came together for the New York Red Bulls Zoom media call to discuss the current situation with Dante Vanzeir and Gerhard Struber. All that transpired five to six days ago has still continued to fester within the local supporters as well with pundits discussing Major League Soccer., on this matter with Vanzeir's behavior. 

When the Zoom call opened there was Gerhard Struber looked gloomy and sad as it looks like he was prepared for a firing squad asking him questions, for the aftermath of that match on Saturday, April 8th. He knew he had to take his medicine and answer all the questions the media was going to ask him.

"We have some tough days behind us everyone knows. Saturday night and first of all, I will say sorry for a night like that. I think everyone knows right now, what happened but I will say a little bit more about especially the 20-25 minute break." said Gerhard Struber, "Yeah, I think it was a chaotic situation, in my direction I got so much different information, and, in the end, it takes time to find the solution, to find the decision and what is the right one. 

The facts what I got back from different players, from the referees, in exchange with coaches, was always a little bit different. This brings the decision to bring Dante out makes it very difficult for me. And the decision from the duration was, in the end too long. Right now, I could say very clearly before my information now that I must bring Dante out immediately. But it was also for me a very, very new situation in my coaching career. I think it's not so easy to handle in the right way and this was the first time that I was confronted with that and yeah, so right now we have a situation that my boys you know, we have many, many conversations this week with different players groups. 

Of course with the team together, that we can start the healing process. The situation hurts for everyone. I feel very, very sorry for our supporters. I feel very very sorry for my group of players. I feel sorry for my coaching team, but I have in the end, the responsibility to bring all together again, and I think this is right now. Yeah, my big duty. I think also yesterday the exchange with the leaders of the fan groups go in a good direction. I hear the supporters, I think they can listen also. My feeling and also this, I think it was important that we have this exchange I think also was very good that I have the chance to call Jeremy from San Jose, and I had also with him a very good exchange about the situation and also about my decision what I did, and also about the situation with what Dante said. Yeah, so we are looking forward with all the topics in the back at the moment, but I think I can see a group of players they will bring, for Saturday for this next game, a big focus in this direction, what we want and I think we will go forward now with the right feeling and also with the right match plan but everything what we have to do that we can win on."

Sean Nealis came to the Zoom call next and he was asked about the thoughts from the supporters on the situation at hand, as well as their thoughts and emotions from the situation on Saturday. "Yeah, we had to regroup earlier this week and, you know, come closer as a team and we're stronger for it." said Sean Nealis.

While I give credit to both Head Coach Gerhard Struber and Red Bulls Captain Sean Nealis to come to the camera and accept our questions on this matter, there was one person who I felt should've arrived on the Zoom call as well and face the media. There was no sign of Director of Sport Jochen Schneider. This in my book is the most important person who is the top dog when it comes to adding or subtracting players from the roster, and if Struber's job is safe or in jeopardy. 

He could've sat next to Struber or arrived first and given his own thoughts on the matter. I understand he overlooks the senior side, the Red Bulls two side in MLS Next Pro, and all youth academy teams. At the same time stays in contact with Red Bull global football, but this situation should've been added to his calendar, and he should've sat with the media to give us his thoughts on the situation.

I can only compare this situation to the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League when at the time General Manager Jeff Gordon & President John Davidson sat during a Zoom call to inform the fans and the Hockey media that they were parting ways with Defensemen Tony Deangelo for his detriment actions against fellow teammates and coughed up his last chance after a bad loss on the road.

While I applaud Dante Vanzeir for coming to a conclusion with upper management to take some time away from the Red Bulls to think about how he can improve himself and find a way to work harder and get back on the positive side of the fans, The number of verbal words that weren't being given during this five day period before the zoom call began was sadly lacking. 

Sure it was nice to see prepared statements from the club as part of the protocol, but for the many supporters who have been demanding swifter action, those statements felt hollow. This will be a learning moment for everyone, but it shouldn't be. This should've been taken care of right away, and starting now, there are a lot of broken hearts that need to be mended right away.

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