Reports: RSL reshuffle with big-name trades in works
The post-MLS Cup celebrations had hardly ended when reports started surfacing that multiple trades were on the verge of completion across the league.
According to a report on SoccerByIves.net, Real Salt Lake and New York are putting together a blockbuster that will send 2010 MLS Defender of the Year Jámison Olave and forward Fabián Espíndola to the Red Bulls in exchange for allocation money.
RSL had been widely expected to make offseason moves as they were hard against the salary cap.
Olave, who turns 32 in April, was an MLS Best XI selection in both 2010 and 2011, and has been with the Claret-and-Cobalt since 2008. The Colombian has a green card and does not take up an international slot.
The 27-year-old Espíndola first came to RSL in 2007, and then moved on a permanent basis in 2008. He's second in team history with 35 goals, and has added 17 assists in 125 regular-season games. The native of Argentina, who began his career with Boca Juniors, bagged nine goals and seven assists in 2012, and will occupy a senior international slot.
Also on the way out of Rio Tinto Stadium is Canadian international midfielder Will Johnson, who is reportedly heading up to Portland in exchange for yet more allocation money. Johnson, who'll turn 26 in January, first came to RSL in 2008 after a brief spell with Heerenveen of the Dutch Eredivisie. He has 10 goals and eight assists in 120 MLS games — 114 of which came with RSL — as well as three goals in 31 appearances for Canada.
According to a tweet by The Oregonian's Geoffrey Arnold, Johnson will be joined by Sporting KC fullback Michael Harrington as new Timbers. Harrington, who has been with KC since 2007, can play either right or left fullback and is the kind of overlapping attacker that new head coach Caleb Porter is expected to favor in his 4-3-3 system.
The 26-year-old has five goals and 14 assists in his career with SKC, but had fallen behind Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic on Peter Vermes' depth chart. With the release of Júlio César last week, the expected Roger Espinoza move to Wigan and now Harrington heading out, Vermes has opened up considerable salary cap space.
Meanwhile, it appears that veteran Kosuke Kimura will be making way for Harrington on Porter's new-look Timbers. Arnold reported in the same tweet that Kimura, a starter on the MLS Cup 2010-winning Colorado Rapids side, had been sent to the Red Bulls for allocation money. The Japanese right back, who has his green card, has played 134 games in MLS, recording five goals and nine assists.