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Red Bull Shakeup Leaves Midfield Hole

When Bruce Arena took over as New York Red Bulls coach late in the summer, he made no secret of the fact that changes would be made at the end of the 2006 season. Well, big changes have indeed been made: Youri Djorkaeff and Mark Lisi both retired, while Steve Jolley, Peter Canero and former U.S. internationals Tony Meola and Chris Henderson were waived; forward Edson Buddle was traded to expansion Toronto FC in exchange for defender Tim Regan, and, in perhaps the most shocking move of all, Amado Guevara, the 2004 MLS MVP, was traded to Chivas USA, where he will be reunited with former MetroStars coach Bob Bradley. In return for Guevara, the Red Bulls gain a second designated player slot the club can use in the offseason to sign another big name player for as much as it pleases. Guevara, an attacking midfielder who scored 32 goals and recorded 36 assists in four seasons with the Metrostars/Red Bulls, had a lackluster 2006, scoring just eight goals and adding five assists-his worst ever showing for the club. With two designated player slots, which collectively count as $750,000 against the team's $2 million salary cap, the Red Bulls are free to purse some bigger names. Unsettled Real Madrid striker Ronaldo, and Luis Figo, Inter Milan's aging midfield wizard, are the pair most frequently linked with the Red Bulls. With the departures of Guevara, Djorkaeff and Lisi, the Red Bulls find themselves with a few big holes to fill in midfield. Claudio Reyna, who is out of contract at the end of the season with Manchester City, is expected to join the Red Bulls in the off-season, but the addition of Luis Figo on the flanks would instantly give the Red Bulls one of the most experienced midfields in the league.

Read the whole story at The New Jersey Herald »

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