The man who scored the first-ever goal at Red Bull Arena is no longer a New York Red Bull as the team continued its offseason retool, shipping midfielder Joel Lindpere to the Chicago Fire on Friday in exchange for an international roster spot.
Lindpere, 31, arrived in the league in 2010 from Norwegian outfit Tromsø and has spent his entire MLS career with New York. The hardworking Estonian international made 97 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals and adding 18 assists.
In Chicago, Lindpere, who has scored five goals in 83 appearances for his country, will fight for playing time in a deep midfield that includes Álvaro Fernández and Wells Thompson as left-sided players, not to mention Brazilian attacking mid Alex, Mexican veteran Pável Pardo and team captain Logan Pause.
"Joel is a versatile, dependable player that has proven himself in MLS,” Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon said in a statement. “He will provide a dynamic presence to our team in 2013 as we look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.”
The move gives New York some flexibility with the salary cap after signing Brazilian star Juninho, in addition to the obvious benefit of an international roster spot. Though he was a fan favorite at Red Bull Arena, he saw a drop-off in minutes in the 2012 season after being a mainstay in the 2011 lineup.
“Moving to Chicago will hopefully provide Joel with consistent playing time,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. “We want to thank Joel for his time with our club and wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.”
Since New York cut ties with Hans Backe, they have been the most active MLS team this offseason, parting ways with 14 players while adding another seven.