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Showing posts from August, 2023

RECAP: Red Bulls Fall to Revs 1-0 in Foxboro

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced Playoff hopes for New York Red Bulls took a major hit after a 1-0 loss to New England Revolution on Wednesday night at Gilette Stadium in Foxboro. A 30th minute goal from Giacomo Vrioni was the difference on a night where both teams battled but produced little in the way of clear chances. The first half was nothing new to Red Bulls fans who have watched this team struggle with the physical game against New England on the road. Both teams were frustrated with tough play in the middle of the pitch, along with sloppy passing to frustrate both sides even more. The game's only goal came when Mark-Anthony Kaye found Vrioni on the left side of the box. The Italian-born player dribbled further into the box before letting go a shot that opened the scoring. Head coach Troy Lesesne made changes in the second half to boost his team but little changed. The frustration continued as passes continued to not find their intended target but New England faile

Red Bulls Goal Scoring Issues Continue

Photo by Matt Kremkau By Daniel Feuerstein The Red Bulls had a big moment in front of them as they were ready to take on Inter Miami with their brand-new acquisition of Lionel Messi. Due to the interference of the Leagues Cup, he wasn't starting the match but came on as a second-half substitute. After going through eight grueling matches including the Semi-Finals of the US Open Cup knocking out FC Cincinnati in the penalty kick shootout, you would've thought they had a chance to take advantage of the situation in front of them. Sadly they didn't. They may have looked like they were going forward, but sadly it wasn't themselves. They weren't pressing like they normally do, by hitting the gas and attacking down the pitch, They were hesitant and unfortunately squandered balls that should have been aimed for the net. The one big moment they had was flubbed by Omir Fernandez when Luquinhas took advantage of the defense, but sadly nothing came of it.  They allowed a goal

RECAP: Red Bulls Scratched by Messi, Inter Miami C.F. 2-0

Photo Credit: Matt Kremau By Garry Redman On sultry a Saturday evening, the New York Red Bulls had learned a very hard lesson. This is Lionel Messi's world and unfortunately for them and everyone else, are living in it. The international superstar known as Lionel Messi arrived with his legion of adoring fans looking to continue their mark in the league after winning the inaugural League Cup and taking one more step in winning another trophy in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal against F.C. Cincinnati in extra time.  Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls are working to remain in the hunt, keeping their slim playoff chances alive with nine matches remaining in the regular season. In what has been billed as a late-summer blockbuster by the league, two teams in opposite directions clash in front of a sold-out Red Bull Arena. The 26,276 fans in attendance marked the record for a New York Red Bulls match at Red Bull Arena. Many of them paid hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the secondary m

RECAP: Leipzig Second Half Surge Carries First Bundesliga Win

photo from Getty Images by Anthony J. Merced A second half surge saw RB Leipzig eliminate a deficit and win by four goals against VfB Stuttgart in their first home game of the 2023-24 Bundesliga campaign. The goals came from all of the field with the notorious Red Bull press saw defenders, wingers and forwards hitting the back of the net. Leipzig and Stuttgart traded jabs in the midfield with few obvious chances. It wasn't until the 35th minute when Stuttgart surprised the hosts and took the lead due to a unfamiliar turnover by David Raum. His pass into the midfield was intercepted and turned into the opening goal by Serhou Guirassy. Goalkeeper Janis Blaswich got a hand on the ball but it wasn't enough to keep it out of the net.  Leipzig found their way back into the game in the second half when a goalkeeping error from Stuttgart on a clearance became the equalizer. Benjamin Henrichs rushed the keeper and deflected the clearance into the net. Leipzig took the lead in the 63rd m

John Tolkin saves a poor performance

  Photo by Matt Kremkau By Daniel Feuerstein This was an ugly game from the get-go. There was no flow, no cohesiveness, and all attacking runs ended in a complete thud. Nothing was going right for the Red Bulls in this match, and while they did improve in the second half of the match, still nothing was going right for them. Especially with an injury for Dante Vanzeir who looked like he pulled a hamstring in his right leg. He tried to give it a go once he got treatment for it, but it finally ended his night sadly in the 28th minute. Hopefully, it's not that bad of an injury, but this is what happens when you play in the Leagues Cup and get stopped short with a week &  half of nothing before the league season resumes. It was all broken out there and while this was the 100th meeting between them and DC United, you really had that sinking feeling that Wayne Rooney's side was going to steal the full three points and sneak in a goal out of nowhere.  But as always the defending is

RECAP: Tolkin's Late Goal Dumps D.C. United, 1-0

photo by Matt Kremkau by Garry Redman HARRISON, NJ - With less than 11 matches remaining in the MLS regular season, the "sprint to the finish" is on. The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United resumed their long-standing hostilities, making the long and desperate climb up the Eastern Conference table to be among the last nine teams standing come Decision Day in October.  D.C. United, occupying the final playoff spot, was looking to create some distance between them and their hated rivals, But Head Coach Troy Lesesene and his team were up to the challenge and have other ideas. Midfielder Omir Fernandez put it succinctly: "We are really focused on not making any excuses and being up for this challenge because it is going to be a challenge. Again, as I said, it is a rivalry game for us. We are going to play like it, and we are going to try to win this game for sure." With four points separating each other, the stage was set for a tense rivalry match at Red Bull Arena. Righ

PREVIEW: Old Rivalry Kicks Off Return to MLS

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls return to MLS play on Sunday against old rivals DC United in a game that could serve the balance of playoff positioning. DC is four points ahead of New York in the standings with the Red Bulls having a game-in-hand. Those four points are the difference between the last playoff spot and being on the outside looking in. "Both teams are competing for the playoffs and they are ahead of us right now," said head coach Troy Lesesne. "They have a lot of talent and are very well coached. So, I think it is going to be a very fun challenge for our group on the night." DC has two wins in their last five MLS games and lost in similar fashion to New York, on penalty kicks, to Philadelphia Union, in the Leagues Cup knockout stage. While DC is trying to rebound after years of decline, New York is trying to continue their streak of making the playoffs with this game poised as one of the proving ground matches heading into

Goalkeeper A.J. Marcucci Out for Remainder of the Season

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls goalkeeper A.J. Marcucci suffered a hamstring injury that has required surgery and will miss the remainder of the season according to the team. Marcucci has spent most of the campaign with New York Red Bulls II of MLS Next Pro and suffered the injury while playing against Columbus Crew 2 last weekend. Marcucci, a 2021 MLS Superdraft pick for the Red Bulls, signed an MLS contract that year but has yet to make more than substitute appearance for the first team. Instead, the 23 year-old has played 53 games for the second team in the USL Championship from 2021 thru 2022 and now in MLS Next Pro.  The loss will surely have an affect on New York Red Bulls II's ability to qualify for the 2023 playoffs and give the first team one less body in case of injury later in the MLS campaign.

RECAP: Leipzig Fall to Leverkusen in Bundesliga Opener

photo by DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty Images by Anthony J. Merced RB Leipzig were brought back down to earth by Xavi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen who defeated the 2023 Supercup Champions 3-2 at the BayArena to kick off the Bundesliga campaign. A rough first half saw Leipzig fall behind 2-0 before mounting a comeback that fell short despite many missed opportunities. Leverkusen came in with a game plan that saw them possess the ball and pressure Leipzig into quick decisions. One such play led to a turnover that created the first goal. After giving up the ball in the midfield, Victor Boniface had trouble controlling the ball in the box but was poised enough to find Jeremie Frimpong who beat Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich for the game's opening goal. 11 minutes later, Leverkusen doubled the league with a headed effort from Jonathan Tah. Leipzig responded well before the end of the first half when Dani Olmo notched his first goal of the campaign with a header. The goal sent the away te

Difficult Start for Leipzig as They Face Leverkusen Away

photo from RB Leipzig by Anthony J. Merced RB Leipzig are still on Cloud 9 but will have to come back to earth to play their first Bundesliga fixture of the 2023-24 season against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at the BayArena. The East German club is enjoying their Supercup upset over Bayern Munich and hoping that the momentum can continue into the new campaign. "We're happy we took home the trophy but we know this success doesn't give us any advantage over Leverkusen," said team captain Willi Orban after training. Leipzig last visited Leverkusen in April where they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Xavi Alonso's men. Now, they return to the scene of the crime, hoping to right that wrong and get their season off to a good start.  Many new faces will be on the field as they hope to integrate quick enough to make an impact. Willi Orban, along with his leadership council of Peter Gulasci, Emil Forsberg, Yussuf Poulsen and others, will hope to have the team focusin

Reviewing the Leagues Cup Run

Photo by Matt Kremkau by Daniel Feuerstein The New York Red Bulls had a good run in their Leagues Cup trip, scraping with the Revolution and winning in penalties, edging Atletic de San Luis, a single penalty goal victory over NYCFC & then a hard-fought match against the Union, but falling to them in penalties. What we saw ever since Troy Lesesne took over this club is a rejuvenated side that is looking much better than what their start showed this 2023 season.  While there are still some issues with the club, there is no doubt that Lesesne has deserved to officially take over the club as their next head coach when we get to the 2024 season. His energy inside his technical area is refreshing, and he holds himself, and the players accountable for their performances in all the matches they play in, when he took over.  We saw Dante Vanzeir getting more comfortable each and every game, including his two goals against San Luis when he ran in and flicked the ball off his head for his firs

RECAP: Olmo Hat Trick Ruins Harry Kane Debut, Leipzig Win the Supercup

photo from Bundesliga by Anthony J. Merced A Dani Olmo hat trick gave RB Leipzig one of the biggest wins of their history with a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Alianz Arena in the DFB Supercup on Saturday night. A performance that saw Bayern dominate possession stats meant next to nothing as Leipzig took their chances to come away with a shocking win. The scoring started early as Olmo blasted an effort past goalkeeper Sven Ulreich to open the scoring in the third minute. Leipzig proceed to absorb pressure, giving little in the way of scoring chances for the rest of the half. The East German club took advantage of an aggressive Bayern, with Olmo scoring again just before the halftime whistle. Munich didn't sit back as they made major substitutions in the second half. Kingsley Colman, Leon Goretzka and new signing Harry Kane all came on before the 70th minute. Leipzig, continued to play a stout defensive game, grabbing another goal in the 68th minute after a handball in the box. O

PREVIEW: Leipzig Go With Youth Ahead of Supercup Bayern Clash

photo from RB Leipzig by Anthony J. Merced Saturday will mark the first meaningful game in RB Leipzig's 2023-24 season when they play Bayern Munich in the annual Supercup, a game between the winners of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich, and the German Cup, RB Leipzig. In particular, it marks a new beginning for the East German club as several key contributors have left the team only to be replaced by unproven, youthful, players. "We believe that they are ready for this challenge," said head coach Marco Rose when speaking on his young team. "It will help them to develop their game. This group has grown close over a short period of time, and we've been really impressed with how quickly the boys have gelled." Leipzig saw Christopher Nkunku, Andre Silva, Konrad Laimer, Josko Gvardiol, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexander Sorloth depart the club only to be replaced by the likes of Lois Openda and Castello Lukeba. While the names may not be familiar, Leipzig have had a st

Frustration as New York Red Bulls II Fall at Home to TFC 2

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced There was no bright side according to head coach Ibrahim Sekagya after the New York Red Bulls II 2-1 loss to Toronto FC II on Wednesday night. The game, which seemed poised for the Baby Bulls to win easily, quickly fell apart in the latter stages of the game.  "I don't think we did what our plan was," said Sekagya after the game. "We gave it away, which we looked at as a game that we needed to win. This is exactly a learning one. It's disappointing with all the players, not just seeing one you can name. It was not our day. You just have to learn from this and then we know we have another game coming." New York Red Bulls II have had a positive first season in MLS Next Pro but the young side has had lapses. Most recently a 1-1 draw against New England Revolution II and now a home loss that kept the team from climbing in the standings.  Both goals came late in the game as Toronto equalized in the 87th minute thanks to

RECAP: Red Bulls Fall in Penalties to Union, Exit Leagues Cup

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls exited the Leagues Cup in the round of 16 on Tuesday night following a penalty shootout to the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park. The game saw both teams play a physical style that benefited New York's low-scoring, high defense, approach. While they were able to stay level through 90 minutes, it was costly errors in the penalties that would see to their exit. New York pushed the game early, causing the Union to make critical mistakes. Red Bulls pounced on one such mistake in the fourth minute when a counter attack left Omir Fernandez in on goal. His lateral pass found an open Elias Manoel who scored the game's opening goal. From there Philadelphia chased their opposition for the remainder of the first half. At times the Red Bulls created opportunities but were unable to find a second goal. The physicality picked up in the second half and key substitutes leaned in the home team's favor. Head coach Troy Lesesne rem

PREVIEW: Red Bulls Look to Push On Against the Union

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls look to continue their run in the Leagues Cup when they travel to Chester, Pennsylvania and Subaru Park to play the Philadelphia Union on Monday night. New York has had a successful tournament with stout defense and timely goal-scoring that proves the team may be ready to make an impact on a grander scale. Both teams played tough games in the last round with the Red Bulls relying on a penalty kick goal from Omir Fernandez to advance past rivals NYCFC. The Union had to grind out their own result with a scoreless draw against DC United. The team advanced by winning a penalty shootout after 90 minutes.  While their lack of goals against DC may be a sign of hope for the Red Bulls, history has shown that the Union are quite potent at Subaru Park. The home team has scored eight goals in the competition thus far with the most impressive performance being a 5-1 drubbing of Liga MX side Queretaro.  For New York it has been about lock

Manchester City Scoop Gvardiol for Record Fee

photo from RB Leipzig by Anthony J. Merced Josko Gvardiol only spent two seasons with RB Leipzig and will now be moving on to Manchester City for a record 90 million Euros. The move comes as a surprise given the relatively young age of the defender, combined with his limited experience in a top league. "I'm very grateful to RB Leipzig for making it possible for me to join Manchester City now," said Gvardiol. "My time with RB Leipzig has helped shape and develop me immensely, both as a player and as a person." Gvardiol joined from the Dynamo Zagreb academy in 2021 and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup. The departure of players like Nordi Mukiele and Dayot Upamecano cleared the way and the young Croatian made sure to take advantage. Over two season Gvardiol was in important part in the team winning their first two major trophies, the 2022 and 2023 DFB Pokal. He also helped lock in the defense to secure knockout stage appearances in the UEFA Champions

Red Bulls unbeaten outside MLS Regular Season against NYCFC

Photo by Matt Kremkau by Daniel Feuerstein The New York Red Bulls once again got ready for another huge Hudson River Derby matchup against the blue side of New York City as they tangled with NYCFC, for their first Leagues Cup matchup in the Round of 32. Once again it was another strong and complete performance by the team in red as they will face the Philadelphia Union down in Chester, Pennsylvania after a one-goal clean sheet victory.  After Luquinhas was taken down inside the area by the defender, The Bronx-born midfielder Omir Fernandez took the penalty and buried it for the lead and the game-winning goal. But after that happened, NYCFC looked shell-shocked, they looked bad. The Red Bulls were pounding chances every single time they had possession of the ball. If not for the goalkeeping of Matt Freese, the result would've been much worse. Everyone was clicking and attacking strongly, but while Nick Cushing did make changes in the second half, the backline for the Red Bulls conti

RECAP: Omir Fernandez Penalty Sees Them to Next Round of Leagues Cup

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls claim another win over NYCFC, this time in the Leagues Cup, with a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena on Thursday night. The game's only goal came from the penalty spot in the 30th minute when Omir Fernandez, a native of the Bronx, converted after Luquinhas was taking down in the box.  The game was scrappy with both teams battling in the midfield to create opportunities. Little came of their efforts until the New York City defense cost them the first real opportunity in the 30th minute. Tayvon Gray took down the Red Bulls midfielder, leading to the penalty opportunity. Fernandez converted and sent New York into a defensive shell that held for the rest of the game. New York City created few opportunities in the second half with the Red Bulls showing why they are one of the best defensive teams in the Leagues Cup. It is the second clean sheet in three games, with the team only surrendering one goal against Athletic San Luis in the

New York Adds Forward Jorge Cabezas Hurtado on Loan

by Anthony J. Merced New York Red Bulls have added English Premier League forward Jorge Cabezas Hurtado on loan for the remainder of the 2023 MLS regular season according to the team. The 19 year-old joined Watford on loan in January but saw limited time with the club and will now move to New York in an effort to gain experience and minutes. "We believe Jorge has the potential to help our roster this season and we are looking forward to him getting on the pitch at Red Bull Arena soon," said Head of Sport Jochen Schneider. While Hertado is signed with Watford, he spent the last six months with the Colombian side Independiente Medellin in the Categoria Premer A. He has also represented in country with the U-20 Colombian national team where he made 20 appearances and scored three goals and two assists.  For New York, it is an addition to an attack that has suffered this year in finishing opportunities. While the 19 year-old may not include immediately in the squad, it is likely

How Gerhard Struber Became Salzburg Manager

photo by Matt Kremkau by Anthony J. Merced It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Red Bull Salzburg who have lost both their Sporting Director and now manager which opened the door for former New York Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber to return to the club. Struber, who started his career with Red Bull at FC Liefering in Austria, returns to the club that helped establish him as a commodity in the managerial merry-go-round. "Gerhard Struber has learned his trade at the club and in this environment," said future Sporting Director Bernard Seonbuchner. "I am therefore completely convinced that Gerhard, who I know very well as a person, will be an excellent fit for FC Red Bull Salzburg and I am looking forward to working together." The confluence of events have led to a major upheaval at one of the more consistent clubs in Europe. Salzburg, who entered the season looking for their 11th consecutive Austrian Bundesliga title, had manager Matthias Jaissle at the helm and