Red Bulls to hunt for new forward before transfer deadline

Hans Backe and Erik Soler of the New York Red Bulls

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New York Red Bulls

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. —The forward tandem of Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper may have combined for 13 goals in the first five games of the season, but that hasn’t stopped the New York Red Bulls from wanting to add another striker.

With the MLS transfer window closing on April 15, the Red Bulls are still in the market for a forward after terminating the contract of Luke Rodgers two weeks ago due to his visa issues and losing Juan Agudelo for several weeks with a left knee injury.

“We have six days to finalize something so we’re working on some alternatives,” Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “We’ll see if we can get there. It’s nothing certain yet.”

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Soler added that the need for a forward is primarily because of Agudelo’s absence. With the US national team forward out with a tear in his meniscus, the Red Bulls lack proven depth up top.

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“It’s more because Juan is injured that we need someone that can step in,” said Soler. “It’s very hard to find of course someone even close to their level, but we’ll see what we can do and if it is possible at all.”

Forward is not the only position the Red Bulls are looking to potentially bolster before the deadline. Adding another center back is also on the cards, with Wilman Conde continuing to pick up minor injuries.

Conde has missed three games this season due to various injuries, including Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Columbus Crew. The Colombian veteran is expected to return to training on Thursday, according to head coach Hans Backe, but the Red Bulls would still like to improve their depth at the position.

“We have a little bit of money but not too much and it will be priorities virtually from day to day until April 15 to see,” said Soler. “We’re thinking about doing a combination [of getting a forward and centerback] but it is probably too little money. We have good allocation money but we don’t want to spend it all now, so we have to be careful.”

Another position the Red Bulls could address before the upcoming deadline is goalkeeper. Even with rookie Ryan Meara proving to be a capable starter, Backe has been adamant about adding a third goalkeeper in order to improve the level during training sessions.

“We’re discussing that all the time,” said Soler. “We’ll probably get a goalkeeper in if it’s on a long-term trial or someone that transferred to us.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.