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Red Bulls mutually agree to part ways with Holgersson


Photo by Howard C. Smith/


One of the lone remaining players from the Hans Backe era is no longer a member of the New York Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls announced on Thursday that they and Markus Holgersson mutually agreed to part ways ahead of what was going to be the last year on his three-year deal with the club. Holgersson had expressed interest in returning to New York following the club’s elimination from the playoffs, but his salary (which was $199,500 last season) played a part in his premature departure.

“After speaking with Markus following the conclusion of our season and taking into account our salary cap situation, we mutually decided that it would be in everyone’s interest for us to part ways,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh in a statement. “Markus indicated to us that he is ready to take on the next stage of his career and we want to thank him for his service to the New York Red Bulls. Markus, an excellent professional, has been an important part of our club and defense for the past two seasons, helping us win the Supporters’ Shield in 2013, and we are very sad to lose him. We want to wish him the best of luck.”

After failing to earn a starting spot at the beginning of the 2013 season, Holgersson made his way into the lineup three games in and never looked back. He wound up starting 32 matches for the Supporters’ Shield winners and formed a solid partnership with Jamison Olave in the heart of the Red Bulls’ defense, but was used as a right back late in the year while Ibrahim Sekagya started at center back.

In total, Holgersson started in each of the 63 games he played in over the course of his two seasons with the Red Bulls and scored three goals (all in 2012) and added one assist (in 2013).

New York now only has Olave, Sekagya and youngster Matt Miazga as centerbacks on its roster.


What do you think of the Red Bulls and Holgersson parting ways? Would you have liked to see him stick with the club for one more season? Hoping New York adds another player at that position or are you comfortable with what the team has now?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hopefully he leaves the league, as you would think he would given the mutual termination agreement. I couldn’t stand to have him play against us.

  2. I like Holgerson and thought he gave great effort to the RB’s. But he certainly wasn’t and all star. He tied up a lot of $.

    You have to assume the RB’s have thought this through and have a plan.

    We’ll see.

  3. Are the red bulls the boy that cried wolf? Salary cap issues we had to get rid of leading scorer cooper! Followed by ummm who’s going to score! Salary cap lets get rid of barklage, pierce, and that Australian guy who played for a month! Followed by well we messed up we were too thin on defense! People I’m not buying the salary cap excuse! If only we had transparency in mls to ascertain the truth.

  4. The Red Bulls let a very good professional go, Markus Holgersson is what Manfred Schellscheidt would call an “honest player” meaning he fought hard every minute of the game, He reads the game very well, is very difficult to get by, tackles efficiently, quite strong in the air and plays the ball forward quite well. In short a very solid defender that most forwards would hate to play against. Sorry to see you leave Markus, and I hope you will be playing for a strong team this season, you deserve it.

  5. This is really troubling. They’re in that bad shape salarywise? Holgersson was a very good centerback and a really natural partner for Olave. Sekagya is a big step down, and they have no depth now. They need to sign a good starting CB… but how are they going to find one at enough less than 200k for it to have been worth cutting Holgersson? Tough to make sense of this.

    • I really liked what I saw from Sekagya last season. He made a couple blunders but was skilled and athletic. He was a nice complement to Olave and could play the ball from the back. Of course, he is 33 and that’s an issue. Even if he’s okay starting, you’d need excellent cover for him and Olave who is also getting older.

  6. Another headline that is less than desirable! This team which lacked depth going into the offseason is being drastically thinned out. The goal for the offseason was to get a midfield player. Then again this has been the goal for five years now. With an aging team left and a tougher schedule duplicating the success of this year will be challenging. Once again there is a lot of uncertainty with this team after a futile offseason. My only question is who’s next on the chopping block? Dax, one of the homegrown players?

  7. Holgerson played great last year and improved substantially from 2012. Toward the second half of the season brought some bite to the back line and worked very well beside Olave and Sakagya both. He made up for moderate speed with smart positioning and aerial skill. He was an important part of the defense and will be missed. Good luck Markus and thanks for the hustle!
    However I am excited to see who we bring in but don’t expect it to be a DP. 3 CBs probably isn’t enough to be safe so I’m pretty sure we get a solid back/wingback to provide cover along with Miazga

  8. So literally the only attribute one must have to be a good central defender in this league is speed… its hard to believe there are people so naive.

  9. I can’t say I’m too disappointed by this.

    I thought that Holgersson started out last year (2012) as a below-average centerback (I didn’t realize until the end of this year that previously he was a right back) who grew over the course of 2012 and 2013 into a competent MLS centerback.

    He is incredibly slow of foot (something for which Olave was a great tonic) and therefore his effective play has to be predicated on reading the game at which I rate him as no better than average (but improving).

    I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt based on the progression I saw over the last two years and wouldn’t have been upset to see him back in 2014 (but not as a right back…ever…My God he’s slow!) but I can certainly get on board with the idea that management feels they can get more production for their money by parting ways with him. On balance I wish him well

  10. RSL had a 19 year CB fill in for part of the season and Miaza actually has some skill and composure in the back and can pass well. He’s 6’4 with some wheels (though not a speedster)

  11. Just in case we needed a reminder why MLS is a Mickey Mouse League, here it is..and, no, I am not a Euro snob. I’ve been a ticketholder for this team since 1996.

  12. Not sure how I feel about this. He had what I thought was a pretty poor first season but definitely stepped it up last year. Dare I say I was proud of him. Net, net, unless there is a replacement lined up (but not yet announced), I makes me a little nervous.

  13. Another unfortunate victim of the ridiculously low salary cap in this league. He grew into one of the better CB’s in the league, but New York needs to make a few signings and had to dump one of their bigger contracts. Hopefully either Miazga is ready to make an impact or they have someone else in mind.

    • I admit that I’ve never seen him play, but a 19-year-old CB starting in MLS seems highly unlikely. It’s a position that values experience and consistency more than any other.

      • Miazga only has to spell Olave and Sekagya when they’re injured. At this point they are the starting CB’s. However…they’re not spring chickens. The Red Bulls must think Miazga is the real deal and/or they plan on picking up another CB for depth purposes.

      • Going into a season with Sekagya as a starter and Miazga as the first CB off the bench is a readymade crisis.

      • Tend to agree about Miazga, but Sekagya should be fine, no? His pedigree is excellent. Are you more concerned about injuries and age? That I can understand with Olave also older and somewhat injury prone.

      • Injuries, age, and the fact that he’s not a frontline CB to begin with.

        3rd CBs almost always see signficant time, and often the 4th guy on the depth chart does too. Can’t have an untested kid playing that many minutes. Obviously they will pick someone else up, but someone both better and cheaper than Holgersson? Hard to see that happening.

  14. This is very disappointing news. I’ve always felt he was the most under appreciated Red Bull and I’ve enjoyed watching him play the last 2 years.

    • He was pretty solid all around, but slow and not overly great in any one area. I wonder if this is part of a general push for more speed and youth. There’s a lot of old and slow legs on that team. If they bring in another DP, that would likely be yet another older set of legs. Is Opara available? He’d be a nice complement for Olave. I suppose it’s also possible this move makes room to sign a DP at the CB spot, but that seems unlikely.

      • Why in the world would SKC part with Opara? I suppose you could offer up a boatload of allocation money but I’d think the cost would be prohibitive.

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