Orlando City trade for New York Red Bull's Sacha Kljestan

In an exciting MLS move Orlando City have traded for New York Red Bulls’ attacking midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

Orlando City trade for New York Red Bull's Sacha Kljestan
Orlando City trade for New York Red Bull's Sacha Kljestan

In this deal, Orlando City have given the New York Red Bulls Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding in exchange for Sacha Kljestan and $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. This deal sees the second consecutive year that the New York Red Bulls have traded their captain (Dax McCarty to Chicago Fire).

The Losses

Orlando City have sent the Red Bulls two young players in Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding. Carlos Rivas was signed to the club in 2015 from Colombian club, Deportivo Cali. Due to his $1.5 million transfer fee, Rivas was signed on as a young DP. Since then he never really found consistent form, in 78 appearances (and 42 starts) the 23-year-old has only registered eight goals and 13 assists in his three seasons.

Tommy Redding signed with the USL Orlando City in 2014 at the age of 17, he also became MLS Orlando’s first homegrown player. He rarely found the field in 2015 making his debut against the Philadelphia Union in August of that year. But the next two years he would make 36 appearances, making 16 and 14 starts respectively across those seasons. In the summer of 2017 Redding was called up to the U-20 World Cup squad in South Korea and played in two of the United States’ five matches.

What Sacha Brings to Orlando

Sacha Kljestan first and foremost can bring stability to a struggling Orlando side. Kaká has been the best for Orlando in that position, registering 22 assists since 2015, but has never found a consistent stride which was only magnified by injuries over his three seasons here. Now, after his retirement and a year after trading Kevin Molino to Minnesota, Orlando City find themselves without a playmaker. Sacha brings two seasons of leading the league in assists, three seasons in the top five registering 51 assists in his time in Harrison.

Kljestan has the second most assists in a single season with 20 in his 2016 season, only less than Carlos Valderrama with 26 in 2000. He also breaks into the top ten for all-time assists with 81 in 205 matches.

Kljestan brings years of MLS experience with him, over 200 games across two teams in seven years (separated by a long stay at Anderlecht in the Belgian First Division). He is a player who was a finalist for rookie of the year in 2006, was nominated for the 2008 All-Star Team, helped lead Anderlecht to four Belgian Super Cups and three times Belgian Champions.

Although Orlando have traded away these two young players they have retained a percentage of future transfer fee for both of these two players.

Sacha has been an incredible playmaker since returning to this league. Now in Orlando, he has a chance to line up behind Dom Dwyer, one of the most prolific strikers in the last few years in MLS. The Orlando faithful have been calling for a big signing and this could be one to raise the Lions to the next level.