Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Jonny Steele was a key member of the New York Red Bulls team that helped the club win its first trophy, but his role within the squad was diminished this year and he is moving on as a result.
The Red Bulls announced late on Thursday afternoon that they have mutually agreed to part ways with Steele in order to allow him to pursue other opportunities. Steele made just six starts in 15 appearances this season, a stark comparison to his first year at the club in 2013 in which he was an every-game starter.
“Jonny had an offer from outside of Major League Soccer and we have agreed to his request to depart the club,” said Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh. “We appreciate Jonny’s contributions over the past two seasons and wish him the best of luck in the future. With the open roster spot and available salary cap space from his departure, we are looking to add to the squad in the coming weeks.”
Steele had just one goal and two assists this season, but the 28-year-old midfielder played a much bigger part in helping the Red Bulls capture the Supporters’ Shield in 2013 by starting in 32 of the 33 league games he appeared in and contributing with five goals and six assists.
The North Ireland international began this season starting in his usual left midfield spot and with praise from head coach Mike Petke for an improved attitude. But Steele struggled in the season-opening loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps and was shuffled in and out of the lineup during the rest of New York’s games.
Eric Alexander earned the majority of the starts in Steele’s place at left midfield, but offseason acquisition Bobby Convey also saw some time there.
What do you think of the Red Bulls and Steele parting ways? Where do you think he will end up? Wishing your MLS club would pick him up?
Share your thoughts below.