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Red Bulls Still Have Holes to Fill
North Jersey Herald, February 27th, 2008 4PM

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Years of disappointment have left New York Red Bulls fans wondering what's taking the team so long to fill in the holes left by the off-season departure of so many of its former players. That tension reached a boiling point last week when the Bulls traded defensive midfielder and long time starter Dema Kovalenko to Real Salt Lake for a future first round draft pick.

Without any new signings and salary cap room approaching $1 million, you can forgive Red Bulls fans for feeling restless, says the North Jersey Herald's Ives Galarcep. Where is even one recognizable new face to help shore up the Red Bulls defense? Where is the playmaker that new coach Juan Carlos Osorio keeps promising? As Galarcep says, the Kovalenko trade "did nothing to address any of several key questions the Red Bulls still face as the clock counts down to their season opener against the Columbus Crew on April 5."

Osorio remains confident that the mystery playmaker he keeps mentioning will be signed before the April 15 transfer deadline, but Galarcep says other questions remain. Defense has been a hallmark of Osorio's teams in the past, and the Bulls definitely need to add stronger options in center-half position. Will Chicago's Wilman Conde be that man? Galarcep says no -- at least, not for anything the Red Bulls could offer in trade. More than likely, he says the team will need to sell before it can buy higher-profile replacements. Top of the projected to go list is Dutchman Dave Van Den Bergh, who commands a hefty $215,000.

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