How will Orlando and New York fare after Sacha Kljestan trade?

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 09: New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) during the soccer match between the Orlando City Lions and the NY Red Bulls on April 9, 2017 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 09: New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) during the soccer match between the Orlando City Lions and the NY Red Bulls on April 9, 2017 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Red Bulls have traded Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City SC. The Red Bulls lose their captain and assist leader, while Orlando finds a replacement for Kaka.

According to Jeff Carlisle from ESPN, Orlando City SC has reached a deal to acquire Sacha Kljestan from The Red Bulls. The Red Bulls will send Sacha Kljestan and $150,000 in TAM (Target allocation money) to Orlando City SC, and in return will receive Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding.

How does the trade affect Orlando City SC?

Orlando City SC will get MLS’ 2016 & 2017 assist leader who is coming off arguably the best two years of his career. Orlando City SC also gets valuable TAM money, which they can potentially use to knock down Kljestan’s DP contract to better manage their team’s salaries.

Despite Kaka’s excellent play in his time in MLS, Sacha Kljestan may pan out to be an upgrade for Orlando. Kljestan totaled 54 assists in his time with The Red Bulls and has solidified himself as an excellent distributor of the ball.

Sadly fans of the Lions will likely not see Kljestan and Larin link up next season. Cyle Larin is rumored to leave Orlando for a big move to Germany or Turkey. Though Kljestan may get to play alongside the talented 19-year-old Paraguayan winger Josue Colman, but the deal is not official yet.

Per the source, Kljestan is believed to have signed a two-year contract. Orlando City SC struggled heavily last season and this deal gives the Lions the opportunity to improve their form. Though, the 32-year-old Kljestan is not a goal scorer and needs pieces around him in order to help the team succeed. The deal for Kljestan is only as good as the players that are put around him.

Kreis now has Sacha Kljestan in his arsenal.
Kreis now has Sacha Kljestan in his arsenal. /

Jason Kreis is going to have to find a way to get the best out of Sacha, even after all their departures following the 2017 season. With Kaka retired, Rivas to NY, and Larin on his way out, Kreis is going to need new offensive players in the January transfer window. Depending on the pieces they do or do not add this off-season, this is a potential make or break year for Jason Kreis.

Once Again, Good-bye Captain

The Red Bulls have now lost their captain for the second year straight. But, on the bright side, the Red Bulls will receive two young MLS starters with plenty of upside. Carlos Rivas, at age 23, is a pacy winger from Colombia who had a difficult time settling in at Orlando City. Though in 2017, Rivas vastly improved notching 5 goals and 5 assists. Rivas was signed as a DP from Deportivo Cali in Colombia.

The Red Bulls will also receive Orlando City’s first ever Homegrown signing in Tommy Redding. Redding played in 18 games last season, starting in 14. Tommy Redding played for the U.S U-18’s and U-20’s, alongside his new teammate Tyler Adams. Redding is 20 years-old, and is another young defender in New York’s already youthful defense.

The average age of the current Red Bulls squad coming into 2018 is 25.5 years old. 

The Red Bulls are going to have an extremely dangerous attack with Royer and Rivas on the wings, and Wright-Phillips up top. And if the attack isn’t deadly enough, The Red Bulls are still hoping to officially sign the talented winger Alejandro Romero Gamarra from CA Huracan in Argentina. Even though the deal was confirmed by CA Huracan and Gamarra, the deal is now threatened by Gamarra’s ex-agent, Marcelo Simonian. 

This deal also proves The Red Bulls have committed to Tyler Adams. Adams looks to be a sure starter in the center of midfield now. Sean Davis, another Homegrown, will also see some more minutes after a lack-luster 2017 campaign.

Replacing Kljestan’s Assist Output

Jesse Marsch is going to have a big challenge in front of him in 2018. How do you replace a captain who has largely led the team in the assists column for the past two years? 2018 will be Jesse Marsch’s biggest test as a head coach in MLS. Even the man himself, Sacha Kljestan, sees the dilemma at-hand for his now-former coach.

Next: Red Bulls offseason round-up, Part 1

The details of the trade show how badly The Red Bulls wanted to move Sacha Kljestan. Upon first looking at the deal one might scratch their head over sending a captain and $150,000 in TAM to Orlando. Also, The Red Bulls were keen on receiving 19-year-old Pierre Da Silva in the deal, and Orlando declined their request.

Though, after selling Dax McCarty and trading Sacha Kljestan, its certain to say The Red Bulls subscribe to the belief in selling one year early, rather than one year too late.