Friday's soccer news starts with Jesse Marsch leaving the New York Red Bulls amid reports that he will become the interim coach or assistant at RB Leipzig. The New York Red Bulls already named Chris Armas as their new head coach.
“We are fully supportive of Jesse and his decision to pursue a new opportunity,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said. “Jesse played a large role in establishing our club identity, but the culture here is the result of the dedication and hard work of many. We are confident in Chris Armas. We know Chris and the coaching staff will have our team ready to compete each week, and they will continue to find ways to improve and work towards our ultimate goal of winning MLS Cup.”
As plenty of people have already pointed out, switching from MLS to the Bundesliga if even for a season is an opportunity few would pass up. The Athletic's Kristian Dyer reported on the potential move with MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal following up on RB Leipzig's odd situation. The team has a coach in place for next season, but not this season. According to the reports, Marsch could be in line for the interim coaching job or an assistant role.
RB Leipzig will be playing European soccer this season, finishing 6th and entering the Europa League in the second qualifying round. That two-leg series begins on July 26 with the DFB Pokal starting on August 19 and the Bundesliga season the last full weekend in August.
It's far from normal for any club to announce a coaching change that won't happen until next summer. Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann takes over for the 2019-20 season on a three-year contract, making this a one-season opportunity for whoever takes the interim RB job.
"Julian kept his word as expected, of course," Hoffenheim majority shareholder Dietmar Hopp said. "I hoped to be able to tie him to TSG for the long term and I had good arguments for that, but he made his decision and I respect that. I do not hold any grudges. RB Leipzig are a highly ambitious club with enormous financial resources and will receive an outstanding young coach next year."
Making the situation just a little stranger, Nagelsmann led Hoffenheim to a 3rd-place finish in the Bundesliga and will be coaching them in the Champions League this season. For Marsch or anybody else who ends up with the RB Leipzig job, the closed season mentality creates an interesting scenario. They'll spend 2018-19 in the shop window, hoping to show they belong coaching a competitive Bundesliga club. At the very least for a coach like Marsch without European experience, they would be hoping to show they belong at that level in that soccer culture.
Just like their cross-river rivals NYCFC, the Red Bulls ended up in an odd situation. Playing well, they're moving forward with a new coach midway through the season. What that looks like for NYCFC is still an open question. For the Red Bulls, the transition is easier since Armas was already an assistant with the club. Still, it's difficult for any team to lose a coach when his tactics work. The Red Bulls and NYCFC are both Eastern Conference contenders, and both now face the kind of disruption that can stall an MLS season. NYCFC hosts the Red Bulls on Sunday (7pm ET - FS1).
Writing at Medium, Ahmed Walid breaks down Sweden's tactics. iNews' Archie Rhind-Tutt explains the packing statistic. The NY Times' Rory Smith explains why scouts no longer necessarily focus on World Cup performances.
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