New York Red Bulls

Jesse Marsch
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American coach Marsch lauds players after Salzburg wins Austrian Cup

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American coach Jesse Marsch has now managed a team to a silverware on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean following Red Bull Salzburg’s Austrian Cup triumph on Saturday.

Marsch’s men beat Lustenau 5-0 in the Austrian Cup Final, celebrating with a social distance-inspired celebration. Dominik Szoboszlai had a goal and an assist in the win, while Hee-chan Hwang posted two assists.

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The side’s red-hot start to the season dipped upon return from winter break after Salzburg sold a number of stars including Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), and Marin Pongracic (Wolfsburg).

Salzburg is back atop the Austrian Bundesliga after rivals LASK Linz lost six points for team training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marsch, 46, won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield as New York Red Bulls coach, and was a regular trophy collector as a player with DC United and the Chicago Fire.

His Salzburg side impressed in a challenging Champions League group and the LASK punishment gives Marsch a look at the domestic double. There are 10 matches left in the Austrian Bundesliga season, which runs through July 5.

U.S. midfielder Tyler Adams ruing virus-enforced ‘whirlwind’ break

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BERLIN — United States midfielder Tyler Adams picked the wrong time to be the fittest he’s been all season.

With the Bundesliga suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, Adams is unsure when he will be able to play a competitive game for Leipzig again, or even if the season can be completed.

The 21-year-old Adams missed almost the whole of the first half of the season because of a groin injury, then suffered a calf injury in February after five Bundesliga appearances.

He returned on March 10 to make his Champions League debut against Tottenham, setting up the last goal in Leipzig’s 3-0 win.

But the team hasn’t played since. The Bundesliga is in limbo with nine rounds remaining.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” Adams said by video link on Friday.

He has been using the time off to complete what he calls his preseason, working on his fitness at home before training resumed in small groups at Leipzig’s ground.

“I’m really building up to my full capability,” Adams said. “Right now the body feels great, I feel fully recovered from any past injuries. My mental state is clear. I’m just focused on being able to play again.”

Germany has strict social distancing measures in place. Training is in in groups of three or four -– always while maintaining appropriate distance.

“It’s a little bit tricky. You can only do certain passing drills. You can do dribbling, you can do running and fitness, finishing. So you have all the individual variables of what it’s like to play in a game, but at the same time, it’s never gonna be 11 vs. 11, right now,” Adams said. “That’s the thing that hurts.”

New York has become a hotspot for the virus in the U.S. with more than 123,000 cases of COVID-19 registered and nearly 11,500 deaths by Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Adams worries about his family back home, but said it was fortunate they live an hour and a half outside the city.

“It’s not too, too bad there yet, but the numbers there are still increasing. It’s a scary thing. My parents have my brothers at home with them, keeping them occupied … but right now they’re safe,” the player said. “It’s hard. You miss your family, you hope everyone’s safe.”

Adams joined Leipzig in January 2019 from New York Red Bulls and quickly established himself as a starter in the German side’s midfield. Despite ill luck with injuries this season, Leipzig handed Adams a pay rise and extended his contract last month to 2025.

The Bundesliga title was attainable before the league was suspended. Leipzig is just five points behind defending champion Bayern Munich.

Bundesliga clubs were hoping to return to play in May without spectators, but this week the ban on large gatherings was extended to Aug. 31, affecting the start of the 2020-21 Bundesliga, too.

Playing without fans wouldn’t be a problem for Adams.

“I’ve played in the USL (United Soccer League in the U.S.), so there were a lot of empty stadiums at the time,” he said. “Being able to go out and play would be a great feeling, but you only want to do so when it keeps everybody safe -– all the players, all the staff involved in running games, and of course the fans. If we continue to play with no spectators, and that keeps them safe, then I would be glad to do that.”

Adams is in regular contact with Weston McKennie, Erik Palmer-Brown at Austria Wien, and other American players who are overseas.

“It’s been unique to see what they’re going through. For (Palmer-Brown) they haven’t even had the opportunity to train again. They haven’t even been able to leave the house for a run,” Adams said. “Fortunately enough in Germany, we’re still able to get out.”

‘Let’s do this’: Bradley Wright-Phillips announces his arrival to LAFC

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Bradley Wright-Phillips is taking his talents to Los Angeles.

The New York Red Bulls legend, who left the club in November after seven seasons, is joining MLS Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC, according to his personal Twitter account.

The news comes after it was reported that the 34-year-old had joined LAFC’s preseason as a trialist in hopes securing a contract with Bob Bradley‘s side.

The forward, a two-time MLS Golden Boot winner, saw his productivity rates drop drastically last season as injuries became a common theme. Despite making 24 appearances, Wright-Phillips was limited to nine starts (1098 minutes in total), scoring only two goals all season.

At the end of the season, the Red Bulls decided to not offer the soon-to-be 35-year-old a new contract.

LAFC, in need of proven, attacking depth as they head into a busy 2020 which will include CONCACAF Champions League play, will get one of the league’s most prolific goalscorers in the Englishmen.

In seven seasons with the Red Bulls, Wright-Phillips scored 108 goals – the fastest player in MLS history to reach the century mark. In three out of the seven seasons, the attacker posted more than 20 goals, with the then-record-tying 27 goal campaign in 2014 the hallmark of the bunch.

LAFC have yet to release an official statement on the signing of Wright-Phillips.

Reports: NYCFC to play CONCACAF CL game at Red Bull Arena

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NYCFC has been left red-faced as it gets set to open its season early against Costa Rican side AD San Carlos in CONCACAF Champions League play.

According to a report by Costa Rican publication CRHoy, which includes quotes from San Carlos executive Gustavo Perez, the Major League Soccer club will play its home leg of the matchup at Red Bull Arena due to the the unavailability of Yankee Stadium. The Athletic reporter Sam Stejskal confirmed the report.

“They wanted to avoid playing there because of the rivalry they have with Red Bull, but in the end they had no choice,” said Perez, the San Carlos sporting director, as quoted in the CRHoy report.

So far no reason for the conflict at Yankee Stadium has been reported.

The revelation is an incredibly embarrassing one for NYCFC, having to turn to its bitter league rival for venue assistance, still without its own soccer-specific stadium in its seventh season of existence. However, it could be turned on the gracious hosts as well, should NYCFC outdraw the NY Red Bulls for the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 match. The Red Bulls drew 3,417 last season when they hosted Dominican club Atletico Pantoja in late February.

NYCFC plays the first leg against San Carlos on February 20 on the road in Costa Rica, while the return leg is on February 28. The MLS season is slated to begin March 1 against Columbus on the road, while its home opener will be against FC Dallas on March 14.

New York Red Bulls hire Wolves sporting director David Thelwell

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HARRISON, N.J. (AP) Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls have hired Kevin Thelwell from Wolverhampton as head of sport under general manager Marc de Grandpre.

The MLS team announced the hiring of the 46-year-old to the newly created position on Monday.

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Thelwell will have oversight on all aspects of the sporting side of the club. Denis Hamlett, the sporting director, will remain in charge of day-to-day soccer operations but will report to Thelwell.

Thelwell was appointed sporting director of Wolves in 2016 after three years as head of football development and recruitment. Wolves went from England’s third tier in 2013-14 to champion of the second-tier League Championship in 2017-18. They are eighth in the Premier League at roughly two-thirds through the season.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports