Real Salt Lake figured to shake up its long-standing nucleus after another season went by without any silverware being brought back to Rio Tinto Stadium. Monday's trade certainly signifies a changing of the guard at the perennial Western Conference contender.
RSL traded 2010 MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave and starting forward Fabian Espindola to the New York Red Bulls for an undisclosed amount of allocation money, parting ways with two integral pieces to the club's sustained run of success.
"Fabían and Jámison were huge parts of RSL’s foundation," RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey said in a team statement. "They both played major roles in our 2009 MLS Cup championship, our run to the [2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League] final and our five-straight postseason appearances.
"Unfortunately, all of this continued success has placed severe salary cap constraints on the club. Those constraints were the driving force behind this trade, which we believe will help us reload for the 2013 season."
Olave, a 31-year-old Colombian center back, labored through an injury-plagued 2012 season and played in just 21 games this season. He was an MLS All-Star in 2010 and 2011 and developed a reputation as one of the standout defenders in the league.
"He’s a uniquely talented player and arguably the best defender in club history," Lagerwey said.
Espindola, 27, had 35 goals in six seasons with RSL and was a 2012 MLS All-Star. The Argentine striker had nine goals and seven assists this past season.
The trade capped a busy Monday for RSL. The club also traded Justin Braun to Toronto FC for Aaron Maund, signed defenders Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran to new deals and declined the options on Jonny Steele, Emiliano Bonfigli, Kyle Reynish and Paulo Jr.
The trade was New York's second of the day, after the team acquired right back Kosuke Kimura from Portland. The deal with RSL gives New York a surplus of big-name MLS talent, with some of the club's top players, such as Sebastien Le Toux, Kenny Cooper and Wilman Conde, reportedly being on the trading block.
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