For a second straight offseason, the New York Red Bulls have parted ways with their captain.

By Avi Creditor
January 02, 2018

For a second straight offseason, the New York Red Bulls have parted ways with their captain.

The Red Bulls have dealt Sacha Kljestan and $150,000 in targeted allocation money to Orlando City for center back Tommy Redding and attacking midfielder Carlos Rivas. The move, first reported by ESPN on Tuesday, was announced by both clubs Wednesday morning. Last season, the Red Bulls sent Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire, with Kljestan inheriting the captain's armband. The 32-year-old wore it to a successful degree, tallying a league-best 17 assists and helping the club reach the postseason.

Kljestan has led MLS in assists in each of the last two seasons and tallied 51 over the last three years upon his return to MLS from Belgium's Anderlecht. He also scored 16 goals in that time and figures to slot into the void left behind by Brazilian great Kaká, who announced his retirement last month. He will miss the first two games of the 2018 season after a playoff altercation vs. Toronto FC involving Jozy Altidore resulted in a suspension.

“His career here was among the most productive of any player in team history, and he is a true professional on and off the field. We wish Sacha and his family all the best,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement.

Going the other way is a pair of young players, in the 23-year-old Rivas and 20-year-old Redding. Rivas is coming off his best season–his third in MLS–with a modest five-goal, five-assist showing. Redding, a U.S. youth international, has played in 18 games in each of the last two seasons in Orlando. Part of the move includes salary cap relief for the Red Bulls, as Kljestan, who was a Designated Player in New York, was reportedly set to make over $1 million in 2018.

“It’s never easy to trade a player, especially one that has been as impactful as Sacha,” Hamlett said. “That said, this move is in the best interest of our club now and for the future. We are adding two young, exciting players that have MLS experience.”

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