July 13, 2012
A CHANGE OF SCENERY
In a trade of underachieving players, Red Bulls send Richards to Vancouver for Le Toux
In a trade of underachieving players this Major League Soccer season, the Red Bulls completed a busy day on Friday, sending Jamaican international midfielder Dane Richards and allocation money to the Vancouver Whitecaps for forward Sebastien Le Toux.
|Sebastien Le Toux is available to play for the Red Bulls vs. Seattle after his trade for Dane Richards.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Earlier in the day, the Red Bulls acquired former St. John's standout goalkeeper Bill Gaudette from the LA Galaxy for a second-round pick in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft.
The emergence of Brandon Barklage at right fullback and Jan Gunnar Solli's consistent play at midfielder probably gave coach Hans Backe and general manager and sporting director Erik Soler confidence in those two players and for the Red Bulls to pull the trigger.
The trade for a forward had to fuel speculation that the Red Bulls were giving up on getting English striker Luke Rodgers, whose arrival for a second season with the club has been mired by visa problems since the winter, for this season. Earlier in the day, Erik Soler said that the team's top priority among Designated Players was obtaining an attacking midfielder.
Le Toux, 28, is expected to train with the Red Buls Saturday morning and will be available for for the team's match against the Seattle Sounders FC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday (ESPN).
“Sebastien is one of the premier attacking players in the League and someone who we have admired for a long time," Soler said in a statement. "He will be able to play a number of different positions and will be an important piece for us as we challenge for the MLS Cup this year. We also want to wish Dane the best of luck in Vancouver. He has been a great player for our club and it was a difficult decision to trade someone of his quality.”
In his first season with the Whitecaps, Le Toux recorded four goals and one assist in 19 games. The Frenchman joined the Whitecaps on Jan. 31 from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for allocation money. Le Toux enjoyed two standout seasons in Philly, registering 25 goals and 20 assists in 62 regular-season starts.
Le Toux led Philadelphia in goals and assists in 2010 and 2011 and helped his club reach the MLS playoffs for the first time last year. A member of the 2010 MLS all-star team and a MLS Best XI selection following a 14-goal season, Le Toux also won the 2010 and 2011 MLS Fair Play Award and scored once in the Union’s 2011 postseason run.
Richards, one of the fastest players in the league, has tormented defenders on the right side since he was drafted by the Red Bulls in 2007. He had his best moments during the 2008 MLS Cup playoff run, scoring one goal and adding an assist in a 3-0 upset at the Houston Dynamo. More recently, he went up another level late in the 2010 season and continued it through the start of the 2011 campaign.
This season, however, the Jamaican native struggled to make his mark after enjoying a career season in 2011 (seven goals, seven assists). He had only one goal and two assists in 17 games. The Whitecaps were hopeful that Richards will find himself with a change of scenery.
“Richards is a speedy player and very dangerous down the wing," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said in a statement. "He brings plenty of MLS and international experience to our club, so we’re delighted to have him in Vancouver. We would also like to thank Sebastien for all of his contributions to the club and wish him the best of luck in New York.”
Richards, who will join the Whitecaps for their Saturday night game at the Chicago Fire, is second all-time in games played with the Red Bulls (147), second in games started for the club (132) and minutes played (11,699), trailing only Mike Petke (158, 14,060). He is also third in assists (26).