I’ll take the minority opinion here (although perhaps not that exclusive): New York’s trade of Heath Pearce for Juan Agudelo is a win for the New York Red Bulls. Maybe not long term, but the Red Bulls aren’t looking long term. They need to win. Now.
Yes, I know: They’ve won 4 in a row. But I mean “win” as in MLS Cup, not “win” as in this weekend in Montreal.
1) Agudelo is a good prospect and a highly skilled player, but he’s not there yet. Hans Backe has an attacking force that functions fine without the teenager. NYRB won’t have trouble scoring. Besides, if the forward has a good season, he’s on the move to Europe soon anyway. So why not get something for him while you can?
2) Pearce will thrive on the field in New York. He’s versatile, skilled, and smart. He fills roles. He’s a charismatic leader. He’s exactly what the Red Bulls need.
3) On the marketing front, NYRB loses a key young American, but Pearce is no slouch. That the move sent Twitter into overdrive before news that Agudelo was involved started to leak — Heath Pearce trending worldwide is not something I thought I would ever write — demonstrates this point. Pearce won’t own New York, but he brings a certain intrigue. John Godfrey nailed it: “He is SO Bedford Avenue,” alluding to Brooklyn’s hip street in Williamsburg. And then there’s Jason Davis’ take.
The real loser in the trade: Agudelo. He leaves a city he loves — a place near where he grew up — to join a Chivas squad that’s scored 6 goals in 10 games. But the trade could light a fire, spark a scoring streak, then open doors in Europe. Take it from Matt Kassel: “So happy for my boy
@juanagudelo17 #freshstart #heisfree.” Agudelo once said he felt like Backe wanted to control him with an xBox360 controller.
So maybe, just maybe, everyone wins.