Sporting Kansas City first called about acquiring New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber several months ago. There were other teams in the mix, but Sporting emerged as the most persistent and the most viable suitor for arguably the Revs' most prized player.
New England spurned Sporting's interest during the season, but a change in circumstances – including the arrivals of Kalifa Cissé and Andy Dorman and the decision to decline Feilhaber's contractual option for 2013 – prompted the Revs to revisit the idea over the past few weeks.
The two sides finally struck a deal on Tuesday. Feilhaber has signed a new deal with MLS and will join Sporting in time for preseason, while New England will receive a 2014 first-round SuperDraft pick, a 2015 second-round SuperDraft selection and an undisclosed amount of allocation money in exchange for the 27-year-old US international midfielder.
“The fact that we did sign Cissé and Dorman, who are both central midfielders, gave us more of an opportunity to seriously look to trade Benny,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday afternoon. “If that hadn't happened, I don't know if we would have been willing to do that.
“As with a lot of the decisions we have to make, there were certainly some salary cap considerations that we considered as part of this move,” Burns added. “But when we looked at everything over the last 18 months with Benny being in New England and what Kansas City offered, we felt like this was the best move for us at this particular time.”
By shipping Feilhaber to Sporting, the Revs will create even more room to pursue further signings during the winter. Burns said the club hopes to increase its defensive options and strengthen its squad on the whole before training camp opens in mid-January.
“It does free up a roster spot and some budget space,” Burns said. “We'll look to add a defensive player or two, hopefully in the near future and certainly by the start of the season.”