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Why do New York Red Bulls keep taking from Vancouver Whitecaps, and what favors (if any) are being done in return?

RBNY's busy off-season rebuilding has come at a cost - to Vancouver. Maybe.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Lloyd Sam scored a great goal this weekend.

Excellent. That is a variation of one of Sam's favorite moves: The Lloyd Sam chop. He does it a lot because it works a lot: it ain't broke, so he isn't trying to fix it. (And you should vote for him to come second to Seattle's effort win Goal of the Week.)

Similarly, New York Red Bulls' sporting director Ali Curtis appears to be developing a signature move in the transfer market: taking stuff from Vancouver Whitecaps.

The evidence is circumstantial and the sample size is small, so file this one as a slowly-forming hypothesis rather than a clear and actual fact. Indeed, there may be answers lurking out there that we I simply haven't found. Still, there is a question to be asked for those who puzzle over MLS transfer minutiae, and it hasn't been conclusively answered to date. So here it is posed to a wider audience: why does RBNY keep grabbing things from Vancouver without appearing to give up anything in return?

There are two transactions behind this question (told you the sample size was small, but generally only one thing needs to have been stolen for there to be evidence of robbery).

First, a few months back, RBNY announced it had acquired the services of back-up 'keeper Kyle Reynish in exchange for a draft pick it didn't actually have in its possession (it sounded a lot like the pick RBNY traded to Toronto FC for Bobby Convey). We never did get a direct answer to the question of whether or not RBNY actually had a 2016 third round draft pick to give to Chicago Fire, but the answer appeared to arrive in a quiet edit to MLS's trade tracker: the Fire got the pick from Vancouver.


Huh. OK. So what did RBNY give the 'Caps? We don't know.

Fast forward to the announcement of the signing of Dane Richards. One of the club's all-time appearances leaders is back! Good news for RBNY, who could use another wide man to leaven the cluster of central midfielders in the squad. Good news for Dane Richards, whose agency was (at least, Global Premier Management was representing him a few years ago), in December, complaining his desire to return to MLS was being complicated by...Vancouver Whitecaps.

Richards, you may recall, was swapped to the 'Caps for Sebastien Le Toux in mid-2012. It was widely expected he was going to leave MLS at the end of that season, and he duly fulfilled expectations. It was reported Vancouver had retained Richards' MLS playing rights as an outcome of, essentially, being his last point of contact with the league before he tried his luck in Europe.

So what happened to those rights? Richards' arrival on RBNY's roster did not include any mention of the acquisition of his rights from Vancouver.

To recap: RBNY has taken a draft pick and a player's rights from the Whitecaps so far this season, and given up (as far as we know)...nothing.

If this was in the plan Ali Curtis pitched to Papa Red Bull, it's becoming easier to see why he was hired ("We start by pillaging Vancouver - just for giggles.").

Let us know in the comments if you've heard different.