Red Bulls trade captain Kljestan to Orlando for Rivas and Redding

Sacha Kljestan Red Bulls New York
Kevin Jaira
New York has dealt away its captain for the second time in two years, trading the midfielder along with TAM for the attacker and defender

The New York Red Bulls have traded Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City in exchange for Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding, the teams announced Wednesday.

In addition the Kljestan, Orlando City will receive $150,000 in targeted allocation money (TAM) from the Red Bulls.

ESPN was the first to report the trade. Sources later confirmed the exchange to Goal.

“We are thrilled to bring Sacha to Orlando,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “His ability to see the field and make the final pass will be huge assets for us. But more than that – he’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s gone, and we look forward to that continuing here.”

Kljestan joined the Red Bulls prior to the 2015 season and immediately became one of the league's best creative midfielders. He racked up 16 regular season goals and added 51 assists during his three-year run with New York.

He also helped the team capture the Supporters Shields in 2015, though the Red Bulls were unable to win an elusive MLS Cup during his time there. He led the league in assists both of the past two seasons. 

Prior to his time with the Red Bulls, Kljestan played for Belgian club Anderlecht and in MLS for now-defunct Chivas USA. He also has featured for the United States national team on numerous occasions. 

It is the second time in two seasons the Red Bulls have dealt their captain from the previous campaign. Last season the team traded Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire. The club also has jettisoned several key members of its attacking group, with Gonzalo Veron and Mike Grella also exiting this offseason. 

The 32-year-old Kljestan will now move to Orlando, where he will be tasked with filling the shoes of a legend. Kaka was the Lions previous No.10, before retiring after the 2017 season.

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“It’s never easy to trade a player, especially one that has been as impactful as Sacha,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “That said, this move is in the best interest of our club now and for the future. We are adding two young, exciting players that have MLS experience.”

Rivas, 23, has played three season is MLS, all with Orlando City. He is coming off a campaign in which he scored five goals and added five assists for the Lions, both highs in MLS. Rivas has eight goals and 13 assists across his three seasons in MLS. 

The 20-year-old Redding is a U.S. youth international and started 14 games for Orlando City last season. The central defender has played three years in the league and has featured in 38 games with 31 starts over that span.