Goal.com’s Clemente Lisi examines the Red Bulls’ decision to trade star midfielder Amado Guevara and what Bruce Arena hopes to get in return.
The New York Red Bulls traded Amado Guevara to Chivas USA on Monday in return for a Designated Player slot and a third-round draft pick in next year’s MLS SuperDraft.
Giving up on Guevara, the former captain of the Honduran national team, means the Red Bulls can take advantage of a second Designated Player slot — also known as the “Beckham Rule” — which was adopted by Major League Soccer two weeks ago to help attract high-profile players to the league. The rule gives MLS clubs the authority to acquire players outside the $2 million salary cap currently imposed on all teams.
After joining the then-MetroStars in 2003 from Honduran club CD Motagua, Guevara played 103 regular season games over four seasons, recording 32 goals and 36 assists. He was named MLS MVP in 2004 after recording 10 goals and 10 assists during the regular season. Guevara recorded eight goals and five assists last season. At the same time, he wasn’t always the easiest player to get along with. When Guevara wasn’t scoring, he amassed 30 yellow cards and four red cards during his time in New York.
“Amado has been an outstanding player. However, if we look at the first 11 years, we weren’t going anywhere,” said Red Bulls head coach Bruce Arena. “One way to improve this team is through the designated player spot. Therefore, we had to let go of our best player to acquire this spot.”
MLS, which for all of its 11 seasons paid for all players out of one fund, will be responsible for up to $400,000 of the designated players’ salary with the remainder paid by the team. Each MLS franchise will get one designated player roster slot, which can be traded among teams. No team will be allowed more than two designated players.
The Red Bulls now have two slots and $725,000 worth of room under the salary cap. The trade is the latest in a series of moves by Arena, which included trading striker Edson Buddle to expansion Toronto for defender Tim Regan and placing goalkeeper Tony Meola and veterans Steve Jolley, Peter Canero and Chris Henderson on waivers.
Arena, who coached D.C. United to two MLS Cup titles, is hoping to sign two world-class players who are better than Guevara. Real Madrid’s Ronaldo and Inter Milan’s Luis Figo have been talked about as two possible targets. Arena did not dismiss either possibility.
“Everyone’s on my shopping list,” he said. “I’m like a kid making up his Christmas list, and some of the requests are unreasonable,” Arena said. “We’re not closing the door on anyone.”
Arena also said there is “no timetable” on when the Red Bulls will fill its two designated player slots, but hopes to sign at least one player during the January transfer window.
“We have a lot of work to do on this roster,” he added.
Arena wouldn’t reveal which players he had on his short-list, but added that the Red Bulls had “been in contact with players, agents and club throughout South America and Europe. We have players in mind.”
Arena agreed that the “Beckham Rule” is a positive move for MLS, but reiterated that there needs to be a balance between American players and foreign-born ones.
“We don’t want to create an environment like the NASL or the Cosmos, who were running around buying up foreigners,” explained Arena.
“We know that it would not work economically for our league.”