By Ridge Mahoney
A deal that has been simmering for about three weeks to send Clint Mathis from Colorado to the New York Red Bulls needs only league approval to become official, says Rapids head coachFernando Clavijo.
"Once Clint realized that he was not going to be in my plans for the starting 11, he gave me the names of the two clubs he would like to go to," said Clavijo, who acquired Mathis in a trade from Real Salt Lake in December, 2005. "One of them was New York, so I called them and we were able to work out a deal."
The Rapids will receive a conditional SuperDraft pick in 2008 in exchange for Mathis, who scored two goals and registered one assist in 25 games last year.
Clavijo was traveling with his family and didn't have specific details of the SuperDraft pick, and a league communications spokesman said the details weren't yet available.
Mathis, 30, joins his fifth club.
He was drafted by the Galaxy in 1998 and was traded to the MetroStars in 2000, which turned out to be his most productive season with 16 goals and 14 assists and a spot on the league Best XI. (The other team he told Clavijo he'd like to play for is Los Angeles.)
After scoring a goal for the USA in the 2002 World Cup, he returned to the MetroStars, which he left after the 2003 season to play in Germany with Bundesliga club Hannover.
Real Salt Lake used an allocation to acquire his services when he returned to MLS and he scored three goals and registered four assists in the 2005 season before being traded for Jeff Cunningham.
Mathis' career totals are 53 goals and 43 assists in 184 games. He is the final year of a contract that pays him more than $400,000 annually, and RSL is still on the hook for $100,000 of his salary as a condition of the trade that sent him to Colorado.
The Red Bulls are in Charleston, S.C. preparing to play their final game in the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday, and Mathis, who played his college ball at South Carolina, is expected to be available for duty with his new club.