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RSL, Timbers and Red Bulls lead the way on busy Monday of MLS moves

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Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers wasted no time overhauling their rosters, with both teams enjoying busy Monday’s on the first day teams could make trades and announce signings.

The blockbuster trades sending Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave to the New York Red Bulls, and Will Johnson to Portland, for allocation money were both announced. Both trades were first reported on SBI on Sunday.

RSL was far from finished, trading away Justin Braun to Toronto FC for defender Aaron Maund, and signing goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.

The Timbers were easily the busiest team on Monday.

Along with landing Johnson, the Timbers acquired Michael Harrington from Sporting KC for allocation money while trading Eric Brunner to Houston for allocation money. They also completed the trade earlier on Monday sending Kosuke Kimura to the Red Bulls for allocation money and the Homegrown Player rights to University of Akron standout Bryan Gallego.

The Dynamo’s acquisition of Brunner was made to help off-set the anticipated loss of Andre Hainault, who is a free agent and expected to sign elsewhere outside MLS this winter.

The Colorado Rapids also made a move on Monday, trading an international roster spot to the Vancouver Whitecaps for forward Atiba Harris.

What do you think of these moves? Like what RSL and Portland are doing? Which trade do you think was the smartest of the day?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. RSL was definitely hamstrung by the cap rules. Too bad they aren’t LA so Garber would just create a new rule to alleviate the pain.

    NYRB needs to slow the heck down before even signing a coach–who should be making these decisions in the first place.

    • Don’t be hating on LA, they’re a shining example of what every team in MLS will look like. Once the owners play catch-up on their initial investment (which they’re doing now) you’ll see some great players starting to show up as DPs outside of LA & NY.

      Plus LA is going to have a huge overhaul this winter and next. Our entire back line has only 1 more year under contract, juninho will probably return to brazil, magee is out of contract, and we can’t afford willhelmson. Our starters now are Buddle, Keane, villareal, stephens, sarvas, jiminez, franklin, gonzales, delagarza, dunnivant. The whole back line may leave next year. And we’ll probably be selling josh saunders this winter ’cause we can’t afford him.

  2. Well, this leaves room for Luis Gil to start every week, and for Sebastian Velazquez and David Viana to get regular starts/minutes. So if 2 or 3 starters under the age of 21 regularly in the RSL midfield next year counts as “talent in the pipeline,” then yeah- I’d say they’ve got some.

    • Velasquez is a skill player along with Gil and Viana. Gil has some grit and has gotten much tougher on offense and defense but RSL will miss Will Johnsons tenacity.

  3. So much for RSL’s “team” concept. They just ripped the guts out of their own roster. Three top MLS players for…some allocation money? Seriously? Unless they’ve been hiding a LOT of talent in their pipeline that nobody else knows about, they’re gonna pay the price for offloading three of their most productive players.

    • you do understand that MLS has a salary cap and, that the way that cap is structured made it virtually impossible for RSL to keep their team intact, right? Espindola was 125K, will Johnson made nearly $250 and Olave made 250K. THe entire salary cap is 2.8 million, and they occupy 750K, and probably more in 2013 with raises etc. They still need to pay Beckerman $300K+ Beltran (160K) Morales 475K and Saborio (400K+). Those players I just listed count for approximately 2 million, and it’s only 7 guys. Trading pieces for allocation money allows them to continue with a good core of their guys, and bring in others. This is how it works in sports with a salary cap.

  4. RBNY the big winners. still have cooper in the bag for a trade. rodgers on the horizon. keep dax, lade, conde and add olave and espinolda. NY is stacked heading into 2013

    please let meola join the coaching staff. petke + meola = ultimate metro legend

  5. Really sad to see that trio of RSL stalwarts go. If Olave stays healthy, NYRB might actually have a formidable defense for the first time in years. Espindola is a perfect pairing for Henry, and Eastern Conference teams will learn to hate him just as much as LA has up to this point. The Will Johnson trade is an absolute win for Portland. They needed a two way midfielder, ball winner, distributor-type who can bring hustle. I hope he makes them a better team, they deserved better results than they got this year. Have fun with some quality players, and good luck NYRB and PTI!

  6. Seems like Harrington and Steve smith are identical players. two left backs?

    Portland lost their best defender in Brunner (albeit concussion issues), sent away an experienced yrt average right back in Kimura, dropped two other right backs in Palmer (good riddance) and Purdy… Something tells me this isn’t the end… Anyone have a right footed defender for the timbers?

    The will Johnson trade seems like a gem

    • Berto, Portland probably did pick up a right footed defender today in the name of Will Johnson. That is his best position by far. RSL has been playing him there from time to time as his passing, touch and creativity are just not good enough in the midfield. However, he is relentless in his work rate and his service is not bad from wide areas, i.e. perfect right back. For RSL, they simply have cheaper options at that spot with Wingert and Beltran with Johnson being the more tradeable piece. However, even if Johnson did stay in Salt Lake, I have no doubt he would be a right back next year.

  7. Ives…. any chance that players in the current re-entry list get picked up this Friday? or will the wheeling and dealing for these players be on the 14th during the 2nd re-entry draft when they can negotiate contracts?

  8. RSL made some good moves today. Offense was a problem we recognized and are addressing. Sabo is the only striker we have left. now we have plenty of room to address the issue.

    • Agreed. Tough to see three core guys leave (I’m especially upset about Will), but there are very reasonable motivations behind all these moves. And it’s also exciting that Kreis and Lagerwey actually have room to go track down talent and pay them decent salaries. They haven’t had that kind of cap room in years.

    • It should be interesting to see who is brought in as well as get a closer look at some of the young players like Velasquez. At first I was let down by the trades but now I’m cool with as long as Lagerway brings in someone more exciting than Justin Braun. With over a million in cap space and 500k in allocation RSL has to be shopping around for a few big time players, including forwards.


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