The New York Red Bulls announced that striker Omer Damari would be returning to his club. The 27-year-old Israeli international joined New York in August on a short-term loan from RB Leipzig. He was expected to be a secondary scoring option, a player who could aid Bradley Wright-Phillips and contribute during the playoffs.
"Unfortunately he got injured and then he never really got himself going in such a way where this guy is firing on all cylinders and really helping the club as a Designated Player," Sporting Director Ali Curtis told MLSSoccer.com. "His loan was just until the end of the year, and so he'll return back to his club."
Damari's brief Red Bulls' tenure -- which was overshadowed by persistent injury issues - had two notable moments. The first was a key goal in a 1-1 draw against Alianza F.C. in the CONCACAF Champions League that helped New York qualify for the knockout rounds. The other was a rash red card seven minutes after being subbed into the first leg of the Conference Semifinals series against the Montreal Impact.
Despite playing a mere 110 minutes in three months, there were always hints that Damari could be a strong player for the Red Bulls. His technical ability and soccer I.Q. were evident, which is to be expected due to his strong pedigree. Ultimately, he was unable to break through and make enough positive contributions, which has been par for the course as he's bounced through the Red Bull umbrella of clubs from Leipzig to Salzburg to New York.
Now Damari returns to Leipzig, a club he is under contract with until June of 2018. It's unlikely he'll be welcomed back into the first team, as he was essentially pushed out the door in August with the options being New York or the reserve team. German newspaper Bild was less kind, referring to the striker as a "million dollar flop" with no future at Leipzig.
It seems that Red Bull will continue to look for a transfer fee or outright release Damari, as they have no use for him at any of their clubs. There's speculation that he will return to the Israeli Premier League where he spent several incredibly productive years with Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
From a New York standpoint, it's disappointing that Damari was unable to be a bigger presence for a club that desperately needed someone other than Wright-Phillips to score in the playoffs. It also shows that Red Bull views its MLS team as a place to send players it no longer wants. If castoffs are able to contribute like Ibrahim Sekagya did in 2013 and 2014, then the system works. If the players are unable to contribute like Damari and Brian Nielsen before him, then it severely hinders a club that can't afford to miss on many acquisitions due to the low salary cap and roster limits.