Eastern Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls pulled off a trade on Friday afternoon, with RBNY acquiring Sporting defensive midfielder Stéphane Auvray for their natural second-round draft pick in 2013.
Auvray, who turns 30 next month, was injured in the CONCACAF Gold Cup while playing for Guadeloupe and hadn't figured for SKC since May. He had been passed on the depth chart by Roger Espinoza, Luke Sassano, Birahim Diop and Craig Rocastle, and has played just six times this season with three starts. He is expected to be available for selection on Saturday against Chicago (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
In New York, Auvray will immediately slot in as the defensive midfield backup for oft-injured Teemu Tainio. The Finnish veteran had been a revelation early in the season, but as his body has broken down, New York's season has gone with it. In league play, the Red Bulls have won just two of 18 matches over the past four months after a hot start to the year.
“Stéphane is an experienced player who has competed at various levels in professional soccer and we are excited to bring him into the roster,” said Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Solér in a press release. “He will provide immediate depth to our midfield as we make our push to the MLS Cup Playoffs.”
In 2010, Auvray was a regular for KC, starting 21 times and picking up an assist in his debut year in MLS. A veteran of the French second division, Auvray is a US green-card holder and will not take up an international roster slot.
The move gives Sporting flexibility to pursue a central defender, a serious need given injuries to Aurélien Collin and the newly acquired Daneil Cyrus. Collin, who had locked down a starting spot next to Matt Besler, has a fractured spine and will be out at least until September, while Cyrus' season is over after breaking a bone in his foot earlier this week.
The two sides are tied for third in the Eastern Conference with 30 points each, though Sporting have a game in hand as the regular season home-stretch looms.