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Money, other issues drove Osorio to New York
by Ridge Mahoney, December 12th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  mls


Red Bull New York will give up its No. 1 pick, the seventh choice overall, in next year's SuperDraft as part of the compensation package for luring head coach Juan Carlos Osorio away from Chicago, according to a source.

The rest of the compensation will come from league's two most favorite pseudonyms for cash: allocation money, of which the Red Bulls don't have all that much, but could acquire next month if Jozy Altidore leaves for a European club; and salary-cap room, believed to be in the range of $600,000 in the aftermath of the retirement of goalkeeper Ronald Wattereus, the trade of Clint Mathis to Los Angeles, and other departures.

Theoretically, if the team buys out Claudio Reyna, it would also gain cap space, because a DP counts $400,000 against the cap. Yet such a transaction would be subject to league review, because at least the next year of his contract - worth a shade more than $1 million in base salary - is guaranteed, and in cases of a player being waived or released from a guaranteed contract, his salary - or at least a portion of it -- still counts against the cap.

FC Dallas has declined to pick up the option on DP Denilson, whose deal this season cost FCD more than $800,000, but it isn't in the hole for next season, as his contract wasn't guaranteed beyond 2007.

Osorio left Chicago for two primary reasons: money and "family considerations," which in this case translate to his wife disliking Chicago intensely. She preferred to live in the New York area, where both she and Osorio will be near relatives and friends.

The large Colombian population, to which striker Juan Pablo Angel responded and vice versa, will ease the transition.

So, too, will a salary believed to be more than $400,000, which will approximately double what he earned in Chicago, of which he said shortly after being hired: "Chicago is wonderful. The city is beautiful, it's big, it's nice. The suburbs are outstanding and the city itself offers a lot. It has the right mix.

"There are plenty of restaurants, plenty of museums, plenty of places to go, and the architecture is quite impressive so I am very happy to be here. The most important thing is I'm very proud to be the coach of his big team in MLS."

But not proud enough to stay if a bigger city beckoned. And he might not the only one taking the fast train to the Meadowlands.

At a "State of the Team" address Tuesday night, president and general manager John Guppy said defender/midfielder Wilman Conde, who followed Osorio to MLS from Colombian club Millonarios, isn't leaving.

Didn't Guppy say the same thing about Osorio a few weeks ago?

It's been a rough go for Guppy, who masterminded the signing of Cuauhtemoc Blanco last summer and fired Dave Sarachan to replace him with Osorio.

Those moves and others transformed the Fire, which posted a 6-3-6 record under Osorio to finish the regular season 10-10-10 (40 points) and tied with Kansas City in the last two playoff spots.

Five weeks ago, the Fire upset D.C. United in the conference semifinals, 3-2, on aggregate, before losing, 1-0, to New England one game shy of MLS Cup. Chris Armas and Paulo Wanchope subsequently announced their retirements, yet the future seemed bright.

Now, Guppy has five weeks to find a coach, one who can prepare and motivate a team as well as handle the excitable Blanco, and prepare for the SuperDraft. Happy Holidays!


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