Top Stories

Quest for top allocation spot helps Red Bulls land Felipe

Felipe Montreal Impact 2

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports


When the New York Red Bulls reached out to the Montreal Impact a couple of weeks ago to begin trade negotiations, they did not do so with the intention of landing Felipe.

They wanted a different asset instead, but still wound up acquiring the Brazilian playmaker as part of bigger deal that they believe helps set them up for short and long-term success.

Felipe became the newest member of the Red Bulls on Tuesday after they traded Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo, allocation money and an international roster slot for the 2015 season to the Impact. New York received in return what they had wanted all along, the top spot in the allocation order, but also a young attacking midfielder capable of filling in at a number of positions.

“We think that Felipe adds to our group from a soccer perspective and he can play anywhere in the midfield,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters via a conference call on Tuesday. “He’s obviously good in the No. 10 spot, but I think he’s good at certain deeper positions as well, and the intangibles that Felipe brings, he’s one of the strongest competitors that I’ve ever been around.”

Felipe joins New York after scoring 12 goals and assisting on 24 others during his three years in Montreal. He still has a promising future at just 24 years-old, but so too did Oyongo, the 23-year-old Cameroon international who impressed plenty in his first season in MLS in 2014.

The Red Bulls, however, took into account Oyongo’s strong desire to play in Europe in the near future, and ultimately felt it was worth dealing him so long as they received a sizable portion of any potential transfer fee.

“As much as we think he has a bright future, we’re also not certain how long he’ll be playing in the MLS,” said Marsch.

Having now completed their blockbuster trade with the Impact, the Red Bulls are setting their sights on using the top spot in the allocation order. They have been linked in recent weeks with Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who nearly returned to MLS last fall and has been rumored for months to be closing in on a move back to the league where he started his career.

Marsch did not reveal whether it is Kljestan who New York has targeted, but said it was likely that the club used the top spot in the allocation order in the coming days, not weeks.

“Part of the issue of the longevity of this deal getting done was making sure how we’re going to use that allocation, for what player we were going to use it, that we’re very, very certain that we would come to terms with that player,” said Marsch. “We’ve obviously earmarked that specific player, we’re very close to getting something done, and we think it’s a guy that’s really going to add to our team and make us much better.”


Still think the Red Bulls gave up too much to land that allocation spot, or does Oyongo’s situation make things a bit more even now? How do you see Felipe faring in New York this season? Hoping Kljestan is the player the club has targeted with the top spot in the allocation order?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. My way too early look at the starting XI. Obviously, this is assuming the Kljestan move and Cahill being sold, which both seem to be inevitable. I actually like the looks of this. By far not the best in the league but one that can make the East playoffs IMO.

    Kljestan – Felipe – Sam
    Stoltz – Dax
    Miller – AJB – Zubar – Duvall

  2. Marsch says: “[Felipe is} obviously good in the No. 10 spot, but I think he’s good at certain deeper positions as well, and the intangibles that Felipe brings, he’s one of the strongest competitors that I’ve ever been around.”

    Certain deep positions? Sounds like he wants to play Felipe at holding mid or defense? If it’s holding mid, what are they going to do with Dax? And where at defense? Left back? Sweeper?

  3. People are forgetting that Klejstan can play on the wing and that the team has Sal Zizzo…and don’t think the team is done with trades yet…If Cahill doesn’t stay then the team needs a second forward. As it stands right now that would be Peguy…they need something more.

  4. If the author is correct and RBNY holds on to a chunk of any transfer fee, then I get the trade. With Sean Davis and Leo Stolz, you’ve got two young midfielders who make Alexander expendable. But bringing in Felipe and possibly Klejstan, makes you wonder if there are too many center mids on the team…if nothing else there will be plenty of depth in the middle of the field.

  5. If Oyongo wanted out, then I kind of understand….need to know who we get in the allocation spot…jury still out on if it was worth the trade….don’t sacha (if that’s who comes back) is worth it…

      • I guess we’ll agree to disagree. Zubar is several years removed from the Premier League and AJB is not quality – he’s been a part-time player since joining the league. No one even close to the level of Olave and even with Olave, this was a subpar unit last year.

  6. The sell-on fee for Oyongo makes this trade worth it. I rate Alexander, but an upgrade with Klejstan or (it’ll never happen) Bedoya makes this a fair to good trade for RB as long as Marsch can return Felipe closer to the way he was 2 years ago playing for him.


Leave a Comment