Fredrik Gulbrandsen did not make much of an impact during his short Red Bulls tenure. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
The Red Bulls finally made a statement why they jettisoned forward Fredrik Gulbrandsen, saying it was in the best interests of all parties to allow him to return to Red Bull Salzburg.
The Major League Soccer team announced Friday it had terminated the loan of the Norwegian striker. He had been waived by the club Wednesday.
“After speaking with Fredrik, we have reached a decision that is in the best interest of all parties involved and will allow him to return home,” Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate options to strengthen our roster in the upcoming transfer window.”
With the summer transfer window just around the corner, the Red Bulls could use some new blood at center back, midfield and forward.
Gulbrandsen, 24, who joined the team on loan from its sister club, Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, did not score in 11 appearances.
The 5-9, 175-lb. Gulbrandsen played only 362 minutes over 12 games and four starts since arriving in March. He finished with one assist in another failed attempt by the team to bulk up its attack.
When he signed with the team in March, the team was optimistic that he would complement or supplement striker Bradley Wright-Phillips. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said then then his staff knew that Gulbrandsen will bring his work ethic to the team.
“He is a smart player and understands the system,” Marsch was quoted by www.NewYorkRedBulls.com. at the time. “I think he’ll bring some quality in the final third.”
No, he didn’t.
Gulbrandsen brought only disappointment and frustration.
The Red Bulls’ attack, if you can call it that, has been abysmal this season. They have scored but 15 goals in as many Major League Soccer matches. They also are 1-6 on the road and haven’t found the net in four consecutive road games.
If Gulbrandsen became expendable, then you have to question how long Argentina winger Gonzalo Veron will remain with the club, because he has been an utter failure since joining the Red Bulls in 2015.
A Designated Player, Veron has been one of the biggest busts of any attacking player in the 22-year history of the club and that says a lot. Since joining the team Aug. 5, 2015, the 27-year-old Veron has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent to underachieving performances. Moreover, he has scored but four times and assisted once in 41 appearances and only nine starts.
One possible reason for a delay in dumping Veron is that the Red Bulls are trying to work out a deal with a team, most likely in South America and Argentina, instead of just releasing him and not getting anything in return.