If you thought the New York Red Bulls had already traded away a senior starting midfielder in exchange for (among other things) a center back, you’d be right. But no reason the team can’t make the same move again.
At the beginning of January, RBNY traded (at the time) club captain and the team’s record-holder for career assists, Sacha Kljestan, to Orlando City in exchange for forward Carlos Rivas and center-back Tommy Redding.
This was one of several reasons why it didn’t make a lot of sense to hear that RBNY might be contemplating sending Felipe Martins - the club’s single-season starts and appearances record-holder - to Vancouver in exchange for Tim Parker: another center-back.
But the rumor unearthed by the Washington Post’s Steven Goff on February 19 got fresh momentum shortly before RBNY kicked off the second leg of its 2018 CONCACAF Champions League series against Olimpia on March 1:
Per source, Felipe is not in the Starting XI, not on the gameday roster for #RBNY.— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) March 1, 2018
Kristian Dyer isn’t MSG’s “Red Bulls Insider” for nothing, and his cultivation of sources inside RBNY means he’s often the reporter who first hears word of news the club thinks might be unsettling to fans. And the news he was hearing was indeed unsettling to fans who had grown attached to Felipe in the Red Bulls’ midfield:
Further, post-match comments from Bradley Wright-Phillips indicated that RBNY players had already said their goodbyes to their (former) teammate:
“The guy was quality when he was here. Even up to his last game, he gave 100% and you can’t fault the man. Good luck to him; we move on. We move on.”
Head coach Jesse Marsch was similarly valedictory in his post-game comments about Felipe.
The next day, Dyer was back on the Felipe-to-Vancouver beat:
Per sources, I am hearing that the deal involving Felipe to Vancouver for Tim Parker to #RBNY is now completed. I'm hearing that the TAM money #RBNY is sending to #VWFC is split up over 2 years (2018,2019).— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) March 2, 2018
In addition I am hearing from sources that no contract extension has yet to be reached by #RBNY for Tim Parker... But have to feel optimistic for the Red Bulls that they wouldn't make this deal if they didn't think they could sign Parker to a long-term deal.— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) March 2, 2018
That would appear to be that.
The Red Bulls like exchanging money and midfielders for center-backs so much that they’re going to do so twice in the same off-season.