HANOVER, N.J. — Fredrik Gulbrandsen is no longer a member of the New York Red Bulls, the Norwegian international going back from his loan earlier this week to sister club Red Bull Salzburg, the team that owns his rights. Turns out it was a decision to leave MLS that came from the player and not his (old) New York team.
When the Red Bulls agreed to the loan deal for Gulbrandsen, who found minutes at a stacked Salzburg side hard to come by, the idea was to integrate the player into the 4-2-2-2 formation favored by head coach Jesse Marsch. But the Red Bulls abandoned the formation and have reverted to playing with just a single forward up top as they have the majority of the past two seasons.
Injuries also derailed his short time here.
“When we brought Frederik here, the idea was to have him here the whole season. But given the way it was going from his side and our side, it didn’t make sense to continue and I think he felt fighting for minutes here was the same as Salzburg,” Marsch said. “Then it just felt his connection there was more important. And in the end, I agreed. We thanked him for his work here and I think he fit in really well. It’s too bad he didn’t get more of an opportunity and that he didn’t reward us and himself more. When we brought him in here, the goal was to kinda make him a big guy but he had some injuries and had to fight with two strikers and different things so it wound up not working out.”
Gulbrandsen failed to score in MLS play in 11 appearances, a square peg looking for a round hole in New York.
Marsch revealed on Thursday that Gulbrandsen was the one who was keen on going back to Salzburg and his departure wasn’t something that was being pushed by his MLS club.
“He did, he came to me about a month ago and we talked about it,” Marsch said. “Again, our relationship with the people in Salzburg is good so even with the conversations we had with Christoph Freund, their sporting director, it made sense to get him back by the summer.”
– Tyler Adams was at the team’s facility on Thursday following playing in five matches for the US U-20 national team in the recent World Cup. He didn’t train with the team but instead rode the exercise bicycle.
He’ll miss Friday’s session because the 18-year old will be attending his prom.
“He’ll be ready for Wednesday,” Marsch said, referring to Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match at Red Bull Arena against New York City F.C. “He didn’t train today, he did a little bike. Tomorrow he’ll miss training for prom.”
Any advice from Marsch to Adams about this rite of passage?
“No, my prom was a disaster. I don’t want him to have to experience…I’m sure he’ll have a great prom” Marsch said. “It’s funny, right, Tyler going to prom? It’s still important for a guy like him to appreciate all the little things in life that he doesn’t get his mind so wrapped around being a professional that he misses out on certain things. So, Tyler will be at prom.”
– Arun Basuljevic was signed this offseason by the Red Bulls as a Homegrown Player and the former Georgetown midfielder has been solid with the USL team. Basuljevic has been especially impressive with the ball at his feet and his passing has been among the best in the USL.
“Listen, we’ve got a lot of depth at that position. We like the guys that we have. I think this is a really important stage for him in his career, in his first year, to establish himself with the USL team and I think he’s done a good job of that,” Marsch said.
“We’re emphasizing things with him that are important for the way that we play. When you talk about his possession percentage, he values the ball and possession with the ball. So we’ve tried to tilt his possession and passing to fit more into the tactical things that we like to do which isn’t always just possessing. He’s adjusting well, he’s had a lot of good games; I think he’s helped that team a lot. He’s growing. It’s another guy…we’re lucky to have a USL team so we can create development paths that are honoring each guys progress. I think right now, Arun is doing well and we’re monitoring him and really happy with where he’s going.”