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Red Bulls have found mixed success with intra-organization moves

It was announced on Wednesday that the New York Red Bulls acquired 27-year-old Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Marc Ratzkowski on loan for the 2018 MLS season.

For years, the sister clubs of the New York Red Bulls have had an active transfer relationship, although mostly one way. These days, the Austrian side, Red Bull Salzburg, has acted as a feeder club for their big sister RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga. In fact, many of RB Leipzig’s current starting XI, such as Dayot Upamecano, Naby Keita, Konrad Laimer, and Peter Gulasci, were all acquisitions from their Austrian counterpart in the past half-decade.

The New York Red Bulls have not been as fortunate. While it is clear that Red Bull Global’s priority is RB Leipzig given their Bundesliga success and Champions League qualification last season, the moves to RBNY have been scarce and general unsuccessful.

Here’s a look at the history of Red Bull-affiliated moves made by the New York Red Bulls in recent years:

Markus Schopp: Salzburg to New York (loan), 2006

Right-sided-midfielder Markus Schopp began playing with the Red Bulls at the age of 32, on loan from Salzburg, after a rather middling career in Austria where he scored 6 goals in 31 games. Unfortunately, his time in New York was even less bright. Schopp ended up playing only 10 matches, recording 0 goals, and subsequently retired after battling with back issues.  The Austria-capped World Cup veteran was poised to be an impactful signing but never panned out.

Ernst Obster: Salzburg to New York (free transfer), 2009

Left-midfielder Ernst Obster joined the Red Bulls at a much younger age, 25, after being loaned out by Red Bull Salzburg around Austria. Obster has a promising start to his Red Bull career, scoring in his debut against W Connection in the CONCACAF Champions League. His stint in New York lasted only 5 games however: 3 league appearances, 2 CCL appearances, and 1 goal. Obster was released the following preseason and moved back to Austria where he currently plays for LASK Linz, which happens to be the home of Salzburg loanee Mergim Berisha as well.

Ibrahim Sekagya: Salzburg to New York (free transfer), 2013

Center-back Ibrahim Sekagya has been the Red Bulls’ most successful intra-Red Bull transaction, coming to New York at 32 years old. Joining in the summer of 2013, Sekagya scored in the Red Bulls’ 5-2 victory over the Chicago Fire, helping the Red Bulls clinch the Supporters Shield. The Ugandan international also started most games the following season, helping the Red Bulls reach the playoffs yet again. Now Sekagya is assistant coach of the New York Red Bulls II USL side, and coached them to a USL Championship in 2016.

Omer Damari: Leipzig to New York (loan), 2016

Arriving to New York at the age of 27, Omer Damari was becoming a bit of a journeyman, being signed to RB Leipzig in Germany’s second division before being loaned out to their sister club in Austria. Damari struggled in New York, appearing five times and scoring a single goal in Champions League play before ending his time with the Red Bulls. Damari now plays in his home country of Israel for Maccabi Haifa F.C., still on loan from RB Leipzig. At 28 years of age and in his prime, he may yet find a stable home, but for now he will try to make the best of his situation abroad.

Fredrik Gulbrandsen: Salzburg to New York (loan), 2017

Fredrik Gulbrandsen came to the Red Bulls at 24 in search of more minutes after playing in 9 matches for Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. Gulbrandsen looked to be a quick, dangerous forward who could pair with Bradley Wright-Phillips in a classic Red Bull 4-2-2-2, or by himself in their tried and true 4-2-3-1 formation. Despite his promise however, Gulbrandsen struggled as well, failing to score in 12 league matches. The Norweigan forward seems to have found some form however, scoring 9 goals in 31 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg this season.

Marc Rzatkowski: Salzburg to New York (loan), 2018

The most recent addition to this list, Marc Rzatkowski, is coming to the Red Bulls at 27 having traveled around Germany and Austria earlier in his career. The versatile midfielder will certainly have to work for a starting spot, as he is joining a number of other talented midfielders in the Red Bull suite, but all the same he is a promising prospect for the 2018 season.


  1. Marsch has shown he is no slave to the Red Bull front office, failing to give the DP, Veron, much time; Gulbrandsen and Damari were sent packing in pretty quick order. I expect the same tough treatment of any new player; I expect that he will either sink or swim pretty quickly.

    • Yes I agree, unfortunately I think it will most likely be the former not the latter. I rate Jessie as a coach, but so far him and Denis have not done a very good job replacing Sacha and addressing this teams needs. I get the Kaku deal got held up on something that was out of their control, but they should have cut bait and moved on by this point.

  2. Mixed success? By far the most successful move was Sekagya, everyone else was a flop.

    Damari came in at the end of the transfer window as a DP loanee and played 5 games. NYRB’s history of big brother rejects and hand-me-downs is not good.


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