Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
NY Red Bulls Trade for Kenny Cooper, Sign a Defender and Draft a Goalkeeper
The New York Red Bulls were very busy on 2012 Major League Soccer SuperDraft day; just not during the actual draft.
The Red Bulls started the day with an expected move, one that could signal the exit of at least one of the team's current lineup mainstays. New York announced that 26-year old Swedish defender Markus Holgersson would be joining the club following a physical and visa approval. Holgersson, a starter in central defense, could act as a replacement for either Tim Ream or Rafael Marquez. Ream is reportedly days away from a much-anticipated move to Bolton. The much-maligned Marquez could find himself either in the New York midfield or with a different club if the team chooses to cut their losses. Holgersson joins homegrown talent Connor Lade and Jonathan Borrajo as defenders that have signed with the Red Bulls during the current MLS offseason.
New York then made arguably the biggest splash of the day by once again trading away a first round pick. The Red Bulls traded their first pick in next year's SuperDraft for Portland Timbers forward Kenny Cooper. Cooper, who has dealt with injury issues over the past couple of years, joins a New York squad that currently has Luke Rodgers, Juan Agudelo, Corey Hertzog, Dane Richards and captain Thierry Henry. Henry, who is in the middle of a two-month loan with Arsenal, has insisted that he will return to the Red Bulls at the end of February. It's also a poorly kept secret that Juan Agudelo, thought by many to be one of the most promising young talents in the league, is likely not in the club's future plans. Despite being called up to the US Men's National Team last spring, Agudelo struggled to find playing time with the Red Bulls during the 2011 MLS campaign.
As several people remarked immediately following the trade, you don't give away a first round draft pick for a guy who's spending his time on the sidelines. With that said, the Red Bulls are hardly a franchise that values the SuperDraft. Hans Backe was, according to a Tweet sent out by Big Apple Soccer, the only MLS coach who didn't make the trip to the 2012 draft.
Youngsters Agudelo and Hertzog having different homes this spring certainly wouldn't shock me. It's also possible, however, that Backe could be considering a change in tactics following what was an extremely disappointing 2011 season for his club. Such a change could mean a more attack-minded Red Bulls in 2012, one that features a trio of forwards in the team's starting 11. So is Cooper merely insurance brought in because Henry, Rodgers and Agudelo will all miss at least some playing time this season, a replacement for a current striker or the sign of a significant change in New York's on-the-field tactics? We likely won't have a better idea until the close of the current transfer window.
New York ended their afternoon by drafting goalkeeper Ryan Meara with the 31st overall selection. Meara, the best 'keeper in the 2012 draft, will immediately step into the number two spot in the depth chart, and could realistically find himself starting for New York this March. Bouna Coundoul was released by the club after the 2011 season, and it's rumored that current starter Frank Rost may not return.
In short, the Red Bulls traded for a front man who, if he remains healthy, could bolster New York's attack, they signed a defender who could replace Tim Ream and they drafted a goalkeeper who is, according to at least one source I spoke with, "MLS ready" today. Not too shabby of a day. Looking at the team's current roster, it seems very clear that the New York front office isn't nearly finished making moves. It should be a fun couple of months leading up to this March.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.