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Red Bulls hedge on Albright deal
by Ridge Mahoney, January 19th, 2010 7AM



[MLS] Acquiring defender Chris Albright, which the Red Bulls did on SuperDraft day last week, is a gamble, yet the team has contingencies in place.

He played just one league game last year after suffering a torn left lateral meniscus in late April. Projected to be out a maximum of eight weeks, Albright instead never got back to pain-free fitness and full range of motion, and according to a source had requested a trade to Philadelphia -- his hometown -- after the New England Revs declined to pick up the 2010 option on his contract.

Instead, New York agreed to the trade, sending its 31st and 48th picks to New England in exchange. Albright's contract is not guaranteed and is contingent on Albright proving he has recovered. If he's unable to do so, the Red Bulls will bear only very limited long-term contractual or financial responsibility.

Albright, 31, joined MLS as a forward in 1999 after leaving Virginia after his sophomore year to sign as a Project-40 player and the first one to be offered a considerable salary. He appeared in eight regular-season games in his rookie year as D.C. United won the title, and during his career moved to midfield and eventually the back line. He also won two championships (2002, 2005) after being traded to the Galaxy, which in January, 2008, sent him on to New England for allocation money.

In 199 MLS regular-season games he's scored 11 goals and registered 20 assists.

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