Sacha Kljestan - New York Red Bulls - August 18, 2017
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Report: New York Red Bulls trade captain Sacha Kljestan to Orlando

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report

Sacha Kljestan is headed to Orlando, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

Carlisle reported on Tuesday that the New York Red Bulls are sending their captain and $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to Florida in exchange for attacker Carlos Rivas, defender Tommy Redding.

Carlisle also reported that Kljestan signed a new, two-year deal with Orlando. It’s unclear if that contract will make him a Designated Player or if Orlando will buy down his salary using TAM.

It’s been reported for the last month that Kljestan could be on the move, with LAFC initially in the mix and Minnesota later emerging as a possible destination for the 32-year-old attacking midfielder. Twin Cities-based reporter Jeff Rueter reported last week that the Red Bulls were “finalizing” a deal to send their former captain to Orlando, where he’ll hope to fill the void left by Kaká, who recently announced his retirement.

Kljestan has been one of the best players in MLS since he returned to the league from Belgian club Anderlecht to sign with the Red Bulls ahead of the 2015 season. He led the league in assists in each of the last two seasons, and has recorded 51 helpers and 16 goals in 97 regular season games over the last three years.

His departure from New York marks the second straight offseason the Red Bulls have traded their captain. The club traded midfielder Dax McCarty to Chicago last winter.

Kljestan, who had two goals and 17 assists in 32 league appearances last year, will be suspended for the first two games of next season for his role in a halftime altercation with Jozy Altidore in the second leg of New York’s Eastern Conference Semifinal series loss to Toronto FC. He has 52 career appearances for the US men’s national team, though he only played once for the US during the CONCACAF Hexagonal.

In Rivas and Redding, New York are getting two talented – if frustrating – young players. Rivas, 23, signed as a Young Designated Player with Orlando ahead of their expansion season in 2015, but failed to live up to his significant billing with the Lions. He recorded eight goals and 13 assists in three seasons with Orlando, starting 42 of his 78 regular season appearances.

Redding, 20, was a part of the US Under-20 national team during their successful run to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup last year. A product of Orlando’s academy, he appeared in 18 regular season games in each of the last two years, starting 14 in 2017 and 16 in 2016.  

The Red Bulls have also been linked this winter with a big money move for Argentine attacking midfielder Alejandro Romero Gamarra, who currently plays for Argentine club Huracan.

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