Red Bulls trade Kovalenko, waive Doe


The Red Bulls cleaned house on Thursday, shipping midfielder Dema Kovalenko to Real Salt Lake and waiving Liberian forward Francis Doe.

James Edward of the Deseret Morning News reported on Thursday evening that Kovalenko was traded to RSL for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick. Team officials would not confirm the trade of Kovalenko, who was not at the team’s practice at the Giants Stadium practice bubble on Thursday. Doe was not at practice on Thursday either.

If the trade is complete, Kovalenko’s departure had as much to do with salary cap issues as with his performance in pre-season. According to team sources, Juan Carlos Osorio made the decision to keep Seth Stammler and deal Kovalenko, who made close to $200,000 in 2007. The Red Bulls see Stammler, Claudio Reyna and rookie Luke Sassano filling the defensive/holding midfield roles while an unidentified transfer target is expected to fill the starting attacking midfielder role with Reyna serving as his back-up.

Whether it was RSL or some other club, the Red Bulls had every intention of trading Kovalenko before the start of the season. The Red Bulls had offered Kovalenko as part of a trade offer to the Chicago Fire for disgruntled defender Wilman Conde but that deal was rejected.

Doe’s departure helps reduce the numbers in a congested stable of forwards that includes Juan Pablo Angel, Jozy Altidore, Oscar Echeverry, John Wolyniec, Jerrod Laventure and trialists Ricky Schramm and Chris Megaloudis. Doe had endured a disappointing preseason and did little to impress Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who tried to trade Doe before being forced to release him.

The moves free up a considerable amount of cap room the Red Bulls are expected to use on as many as three players the club is trying to sign. The Red Bulls are in search of a central defender, left winger and playmaking midfielder, with attacking midfielder the position the mostly to be filled before the April 15 MLS transfer window deadline.

Kovalenko gives Real Salt Lake a tough and experienced defensive midfield option who should step in and start either as a second defensive midfielder next to Kyle Beckerman in a 3-5-2 or as a right winger in a 4-4-2. It remains unclear whether he will renegotiate his salary to play for RSL.

What does the Kovalenko deal mean for the club’s chances of acquiring Conde? Not much. Chicago did not express much interest in Kovalenko and appear determined to try to hold on to Conde.

So who might be next to go? Wing midfielder Dave Van Den Bergh is a strong candidate to be traded or waived in the coming weeks.

In other Red Bulls news, rookie left winger David Roth will miss three to four months after surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in last week’s match against Hammarby.

What do you think of these moves? Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- Real Salt Lake. Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Red Bulls trade Kovalenko, waive Doe

  1. Carlos says:

    At least he will play in a new stadium in Salt Lake before RBP is finished! Bad move I think!!

  2. Sandro says:

    This is surprising and a bit unexpected. I don’t think NY should go after Conde. If Osorio leaves NY, will Conde become disgruntle again. I wouldn’t bother with getting Conde.

  3. kpugs says:

    Great. In other news, I’ve decided I don’t need my guts anymore, so I’d like to trade those if anyone is offering. You just can’t replace that fire.

  4. Curtis Spiteri says:

    Good move by RBNY. Chicago wasn’t going to take Dema in a possible Conde trade.

    Best of luck Dema.

  5. Metrosct says:

    Sorry to see Dema go – he’s the kind of player you love to have playing for your team. I hate the fact that it was strictly for cap reasons. That is what is wrong with MLS. Regarding RBNY, I guess JCO is dealing with the hand he has been dealt – as a fan I hate the turnover from year to year.

    When is FC Queens going to join the league?

  6. Marlon says:

    damn i think they should have waived wolyniec better. he’s older and doe is like 22.

  7. Paul Camarda says:

    this move makes no sense?

  8. patrick says:

    this should be a powerpoint slide in the players union’s presentation during the collective bargaining. This is terrible for the red bulls, and mls. Losing a quality player because of cap space is depressing to say the least. Whos going to be the young GM to introduce moneyball to MLS?????

  9. JN says:

    Ives, why was Doe waived when he was just resigned?

  10. Ted says:

    Does this mean that RSL moves to a three man central midfield, in a 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 with Dema, Beckerman, and Morales.

  11. athan says:

    I don’t quite get dropping Doe for nothing. I think he played really well in a bit role last year. I mean they re-sign him and then drop him, that makes no sense. He is a quality player and I am sure they could have at least received something in return for a quality striker. Man i really liked the way he played so I am a bit disappointed.

  12. Ives says:

    JN, I believe Doe’s option was picked up so the club wouldn’t lose him before a coach was even on board. Once Osorio got a good look at him and the other forwards, he decided Doe wasn’t worth keeping.

  13. Ives says:

    The Doe move shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. One problem with Doe last year was his terrible work rate and fitness. That apparently never did get much better. Neither did his passing and finishing. He has talent but is still very raw and the club decided it couldn’t afford to keep him around and groom him. Of course he’ll probably score a hat trick in the African Nations Cup in six years but right now he wasn’t cutting it.

  14. wendel says:

    i really liked doe. as another poster pointed out why not drop woly who is older and has less upside. doe scored some nice goals last year and while he had a really really bad game most of the time he impressed with the little time he got last season.

    i hope some one goes after because doe has the quality to play in the league especially when there are so many teams dying for serviceable forwards (toronto, columbus, RSL, colorado, LA, san jose…)

    as far as dema is concerned i think we should have gotten more for him. that said i havn’t seen him in camp so i cant bash JCO for this decision. at least its better than the dunnivent plus cash for goldthaite trade…. or the guvara to make room for reyna trade

  15. Coach says:

    How was Dema performing in preseason, anyway? It seemed he wasn’t quite the same when he came back from his injury last year

  16. RPH says:

    I, as an RSL fan, really like this trade because it is another step in shoring up an awful defense. I’m getting excited for this season. I think Real has made some great moves in the offseason.

  17. Matt says:

    So what now? Osorio has done plenty of house cleaning, but the squad is starting to look very very thin. I hope he has a few tricks up his sleeve.

  18. Dannyc58 says:

    I like Dema, but I trust that JCO will get good value out of that cap space now available.

  19. Wilman Conde says:

    This just in:

    Energy Drink New Jersey fans continue to over estimate talent on their, roster film at 11.

    These moves are nothing neither one will be the difference between 4th and 5th in the East this year.

    I don’t want to be traded to this team after all.

  20. Amit says:

    I’m actually happy that Dema got traded. He just never became the Dema of old here in NY. However, the compensation is a joke.

  21. Amit says:

    And long live the NY Red Bull tenure of DAVE VAN DEN BERGH!

  22. athan says:

    No matter how bad Doe could have been fitness wise, he is definitely a more talented striker than Woly and many strikers in this league. If DC United could acquire a decent Quavas Kirk for a central defender who is about 10 years past his prime and a guy they had no intention of keeping, I just find this to be bad management. I for one think the Galaxy should pick up Doe as that team looked absolutely horrendous last night!

  23. Eugene says:

    Why was Kovalenko traded for almost nothing? Wasn’t the guy worth at least a high draft pick next year?

    Its easy for Osorio to trade Kovalenko for a 2010 draft pick since Osorio won’t be here in 2010 to live with his decision.

    Now that Juan Carlos has gutted the team, does he plan to bring in any impact players? Arena was criticized at the end of least season for ignoring the developmental players. Some criticism considering Osorio ended up just waiving all of them. I don’t know what to make of JCO flipping almost the entire team, but I don’t think it’s very promising for fostering stability and building a franchise.

    Any bets yet on how long Osorio will last next season before getting canned? I think he may be gone just after the all-star game. Is it possible to trade Osorio for draft picks? Or is no one interested in taking this guy either?

    What a joke this off-season has become

  24. Barry67 says:

    I would think most Red Bull fans would be estatic to free up that much cash from the salary cap. From what I can tell, JCO is the kind of coach who doesn’t do anything without a plan. You guys have until April 15th before you can start bitching. Give the man time.

  25. sublicon says:



  26. jman81 says:

    I liked doe, but trust osorio’s judgment. Doe may be quicker and with more potential than woly, but all that goes down the drain if doe doesn’t have the heart/desire to get fit and fight for a spot. And I read RBNY were trying to dump him on another team, but there were no buyers, so they had to let him go for nothing from what I see. And although kovalenko is a fighter, I personally didn’t think he did all that great last year. Definitely not bad either, but I think dema’s fighting spirit masks many deficiancies in his game. Bottom line, we can’t have two defensive mids earning starting mid money. JCO isn’t starting two DM’s, and one had to go. Stammler has yet to reach his potential, while kovalenko isn’t getting any better. I wish him luck.

  27. Dannyc58 says:

    Dema isn’t worth close to $180,000 a year. If you stop looking at him emotionally, its quite clear. He’s a hard nosed tough as nails player, but doesn’t come close to being worth is salary.

    Next up, DVB–he’s out soon I’d imagine.

  28. Rob C says:

    Eugene, I couldn’t disagree with you more. How exactly has Osorio “flipped almost the entire team”? I don’t want to waste space in this post listing the players that are remaining, but many core players from last year remain. There is still a nice blend of youth and experience on the roster.

    I think before everyone rushes to judgment and terms this off-season a “disaster” or “failure”, let’s see who Osorio brings in and what the Starting XI on opening night looks like, and more importantly, what kind of football it plays.

    Doe has been replaced by Oscar Echeverry, who, by all accounts, has impressed in pre-season so far. RBNY also has a glut of Defensive/Holding midfielders, and if they got a 2010 draft pick for Dema, maybe that’s all they could get. He didn’t exactly tear the turf off the field last year…Joe Vide outplayed him, injuries notwithstanding.

    Look at your calendars before you judge JCO is all I ask. If the date was June 21st and not February 21st, I might start flinging words like “disaster” and “joke” around to describe this off-season and this soccer team.

  29. DURSK says:

    Dema is old – NYRB got the benefit

  30. retnicf says:

    well at least he went to the other conference

  31. Joamiq says:


    I am really going to miss Dema’s intensity. Every team can use a guy like him.

    Doe I won’t really miss. Trust me, my fellow RB fans, if we saw him over a longer period of time, you would be focusing on his (many) shortcomings rather than his (few) talents.

    Now, I am just waiting with baited breath for these mythical signings…

  32. Oliver says:

    With a need for some A-Mid help, lots of saalry just cleared out and Jeff Agoos likely having a soft spot for ex-Virginia Cavaliers, I wonder if LA trade bait Kyle Martino is headed to NY – his $53K salary is not too hefty but the last LA-NY trade of an underachieving former USMNT player (Santino Quaranta) did not fare well.

  33. ravenrooney says:

    Does anyone know if Dema can play a left wing-mid position? That’s what RSL really needs, and if he can play there, RSL’s midfield is golden.

  34. guillermo says:

    I would comment, but I am too busy laughing at whining Red Bulls fans…….

  35. Eugene says:

    Alright Rob, here are the stats:

    Of the 29 players last year (remember Quaranta was put on the season-ending injury list “for his toe ailment” to pick up Doe), 12 have moved on. I stand corrected for exaggerating about “flipping the entire team.”

    I should also note at there’s still time for Osorio to cut Goldthwaite and Leitch as well as “deal” Mendes, Van den Bergh and Wolyniec. Or cut them if no team wants to deal.

    Has any other team in MLS dropped so many players from last season? I’m asking because I frankly don’t know.

    Here’s a convenient link that’s tracking who’s gone and who’s left:

    link to

    When Arena was fired, I thought it was a hasty, rash decision that didn’t give the guy credit for all of the positives he brought to the team in 2007. I thought that he could have made a number of additional positive moves in 2008 and believing that we’d go from horrible in 2006 to MLS champion or runner-up in 2007 wasn’t realistic.

    When Osorio was hired, I was excited that we’d finally get some beautiful soccer, a number of additional impact players and a coach that truly understands the tactics of the game.

    At this point, having seen many other teams get stronger while the Red Bulls have largely stood still, having seen Osorio claim that Richards was untouchable and then try to deal him, having seen the team desperately grasping at Conde indicating that they likely haven’t found a serious option for left-back or left-footed centerback on their scouting trips in South America, I now have serious doubts about what is happening behind the scenes at Red Bull.

  36. MasterShake says:

    I dont even want to know what it will be like when we play RSL..watching Dema play against us :(

  37. cbr says:

    dema wasnt going to make or break our championship chances. We have Stammler who is younger and more talented IMO who can slide into that CM role.

    JCO has to have something planned…..i cant wait to see the big picture unfold

  38. Eugene says:

    And by the way, Joe Vide did not outplay Kovalenko. Kovalenko was moved to right back to fill that hole, and then was in a serious car accident that knocked him out for a a while. Despite the accident injuries he came back and played with a face mask, that to me says heart.

    Joe Vide is an ok player with potentially compelling upside, but he is no match for Kovalenko at present.

  39. Onionsack says:


    Most of the players that were “turned over” where developmental players. That is going to happen “every year” everywhere in MLS.

    Thye reach the age limit and have to take an 18 man spot or be forced to be released.

    Look at the non-developmental players so far. All we have lost so far is:


    2 Retired: Can’t blame the coach for that.


    Vide was a dev but lost to an expansion draft..not a coach decison.

    If look at it, we really haven’t turned much over, at least compared to previous seasons.

  40. Joamiq says:

    I was going to type almost exactly what Onionsack just did.

    Look at the guys regularly in the starting lineup mix, and almost everyone from last year is still there. I’d argue that there hasn’t yet been enough change, not that there’s been too much of it. The swapping of scrubs is nothing alarming.

  41. Neumannator says:

    Last Season:
    Dema before injuries–great addition.
    Dema after injuries–old and slow and slower.

    Dema, good luck and thanks for the heart and determination, now let’s sign some better players.

  42. Jeffrey says:

    Can’t get over this little nugget from a couple days ago: “Just what could the Red Bulls offer Chicago to make a trade worthwhile? A package including Dema Kovalenko, a first round pick and cash in the $200K to $300K range.” So instead of Conde you get a 2010 draft pick. I guess the actual market for Dema wasn’t even close. It has been obvious for awhile that they have been looking to dump Dema and the rest of MLS knew it.

  43. Joamiq says:

    Jeffrey, the Conde saga has never been about “the actual market for Dema”, and you know it.

  44. Jamie Z. says:

    I have a long-standing question about Dema, and I wonder if anyone here is able to provide an answer: Dema played his high school ball in my hometown at a rival school. I never got the chance to mark him, but I certainly got to see him play and he was a force. I’ve kept loose tabs on him throughout his career and always wondered why we has never given a call-up with our national team or with his native Ukraine. The best I could figure is his late arrival in the US made him ineligible with our national squad and relocating to the US and playing his professional ball in MLS effectively took him off the radar in Ukraine. Sure, it’s likely he never would have been a regular with either squad, but I’m surprised his grit and performances never warranted a look from either. Anyone have any further insight into this?

  45. Steve says:

    I like the direction we at least may be going in, cap room can only help to solve the problems we want solved. That said I would’ve rather kept Doe than Woly, and I love Woly, but at this point I don’t know how much is left. Also as someone who played against Dema in high school I respect the hell out of him and wish him nothing but the best (except against us)

  46. Steve says:

    Jamie, out of curiousity where did you play, I was Brockport. Yeah Dema was solid as hell even in high school and I agree, feel as though he’s similar to a Ben Olsen, not gonna blow you away but he can jack up a team some. I would guess though that even though in the US we don’t give a nation like the Ukraine a ton of respect on the soccer scene compared to Italy, Germany, England, etc. in Europe, they must still have a decent amount of mids in leagues in Europe to choose from. I respect MLS a good deal, but not sure the sentiment is shared in Europe

  47. UNITED says:

    Kovalenko signed for a crappy midtable Ukrainian side called FC Metallurg Zaporizhzha. He could not get a game for them because he wasn’t good enough. There was also never a chance of him playing for the Ukrainian national side, since the Ukrainian national side has a pick of at least a dozen central midfield players who are head and shoulders above Kovalenko. This has little to do with the MLS not being a recognized league and everything to do with Kovalenko not being very good.

  48. Steve says:

    I don’t think Jamie or myself are suggesting Dema is a top notch D mid in the world, but not to be a dick, the US obviously has a dozen center mids above Dema too, the question is just that there have certainly been players of similar ability called into meaningless friendlies for the US and Ukraine

  49. Chris says:

    Disgusted. We resign Doe just to let him go for nothing?? I really liked him. To all the people saying he wasn’t good look at the stats. He played 428 minutes for Red Bull at the end of last season. That’s about 4 1/2 games. In those 4 1/2 games he had 2 goals and 1 assist. Not bad for a guy we picked up on the fly for practically nothing. And oh yeah, the guy was built like a tank. I am really disgusted. It’s always my favorite players that go. Next thing you know Osorio will waive Richards.

    And it’s also pathetic that we have to trade a 200K player so that our 2 million dollar salary cap is in better shape. I can not support this Little League crap anymore. The salary cap needs to be raised to at least the 6-7 mil range.

  50. Chris says:

    Houston would be smart to pick up Doe. He’s an upgrade from Jaqua.

  51. Jamie Z. says:

    Steve, I went to Greece Athena (Class of ’97). My parents are from Brockport and I still have family there. I know the town like the back of my hand. Small world!

  52. Gerald says:

    When the league starts averaging 20K+ fans in their own SSS then we can start talking about a 6-7 million dollar salary cap. In the meanwhile I would be happy with 3-3.5 Million.

  53. TK says:

    Why are so many down on this?

    Dema is clearly on the downside. Nice to have, but not neccessary.
    Never impressed with Doe. Typical, I show you a couple of decent moves in 5 minutes and dissappear for the rest. I’m sure he and Dema were offered as trade bait everywhere. They were ignored. Hmm, why is that?

    Watterrus and Schopp gone to retirement. Good. Really good.

    Mathis. Clint is Clint. Let’s face it. Unless you have a luxury part of the cap for him is there a point other tha to appease the Clint nostagia worshippers.

    The guy wanted cap space. He has it. Now is the time for him to earn his pay check.

    I am not gonna miss any of the players who left. The players they are now, not what thye were.

    JCO – earn your paycheck.

  54. inkedAG says:

    What a dumba$$ friggin move!!! Dema was one of the few players that fought pretty much every minute of every game!!

    What I really wanted to say could not be posted to this board!!

  55. jevanvoo says:

    I’m with sublicon on this one : ( The only bright spot is maybe Dima will break Reyna’s leg when we play RSL, and we can concentrate on signing a DP who can do more than just the little things.

  56. Bthing says:

    Thank you Red Bulls.

    Can’t imagine how Reyna is going to stack up against Beckerman and Dema. They will eat him alive.

  57. I am gonna miss em. Thats for damn sure.

  58. Jaxxy says:

    wow, some crazy comments in here. Dema is a serviceable player but not indispensible. i grant that he is the kind of player you hate to play against but osorio clearly has a style of tactics that he wants to implement – let’s give him a chance to do this. it’s not as if osorio gave up on altidore!

    besides, and think of this – benny feilhaber is making a lot of noise about coming to MLS. granted he’s overvalued himself but 200k is not chickenfeed while he re-establishes his pro credentials.

    not saying it’ll happen, but…..!

  59. UNITED says:


    Kovalenko could barely get into the match squad at the very mediocre FC Metalurg who usually hover around 8th-10th place in the Ukrainian league. You may draw your own conclusions.

    I am sorry to see him go, incidentally. He was a good player for us. Blame the idiotic salary cap for forcing teams to get rid of their best players.

  60. njredbull52 says:

    they are just making room for the next star matt kassel

  61. Paul Camarda says:

    I don’t understand this move at all. I though kovalenko was the was the best defensive midfield we had last year I thought he was the heart and soul of our team. He was one of the few red bulls willing to give 100%. He even went out there and played with a broken nose. I can’t believe we just cut doe after Bruce Area went through all the work to sign him last season and the new contract we just signed with him now. I just don’t know how these decision are going to benfits Red Bull in the future. I consider Kovalenko and Doe to be good players and assets to our team in the past. I’m kind of shocked to see them go and even more disspointed at the fact they both leave with practically nothing in return. I don’t think this is wise management on red bull’s parts and I think they are probably going to regret this in the future desicion.

  62. Paul Camarda says:

    I okay one thing to let them, but doesn’t it bother you a little a the fact we didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you feel somewhat short changed. Don’t you think Red Bull could done some thing better.

  63. JO says:

    I played against Megaloudis in High School and he was quite a handful. Strong, quick and an excellent finisher with either foot. He could be a great find.

  64. Eugene says:


    I feel very short changed on Kovalenko. Even if the team decided he was surplus next year, they should have gotten more than an unspecified 2010 draft pick. Red Bull could have indicated their willingness to move Kovalenko while they went out and picked up the players they needed (going over the cap, since they don’t yet need to be cap compliant) and some other team may have come in before the deadline and given something of value for him. Note the Vanney trade to LA for Quavas Kirk. DC didn’t need Vanney and made it known, but they didn’t rush to ship him off and waited until another team was desperate and willing to make a good deal for him.

    No one can tell me that Vanney is more “valuable” than Kovalenko. This poor decision on Red Bull’s part screams bad management, in my opinion.

    They could have done the same with Doe as well. Even so, I would have preferred they keep the 22 year old striker and dealt Woly. Doe didn’t look amazing last year, but he definitely looked like he had some potential. What would it have hurt Red Bull to put some effort into developing Doe and playing him in the US Open Cup, for example? He didn’t have to be starter, but he was an asset the team gave away for nothing.

  65. Tim Foisie says:

    Thanks Dema!!! We will miss you!!! Fans appreciate that you are in the top group of players who really care and give a lot of yourself.

  66. LiberateMetro says:

    The important thing to focus on is that the squad is being weakened. Dema was a fighter and will be missed, but age wasn’t doing him any favors. What is alarming is that young developmental players are simply being cast off. How much promise did Chris Karcz have? I suppose we’ll never know. I think it is arrogant for Osorio to come in and claim he knows better than the whole rest of the club did when they saw promise in these young players. One person posted that there is an age limit for developmental players. If the players were past this, then these decisions make sense and had the club’s best welfare at heart. If not the decisions are rather stupid. We’ve been trading away draft picks as an organization for quite some time. And we lost our first rounder this year just to retain Osorio as manager. Maybe the reserve team players weren’t going to tear up the league, but at least they were depth. Caccavale, Camp, Doe, Karcz, Ikangu, Patterson. I find it insufferable that Osorio has pronounced himself fit to decide they should all go, when the club committed the resources of staff and wages to retain them. Who will play in the reserves? The Academy U-14s? (No disrespect intended to our youth teams who have given good account of themselves. Shame about the way they got rid of Savarese though.) I have a bad feeling that Metro will always be run by egomaniacs that ruin things for years at a time by insisting that their absolute vision is the only possible formula for success. Osorio had better be as good as his press. If not, I hope the ESC run him out of town, and Red Bull with him.

  67. Frimp says:

    Let’s hope JCO is on the right track…either way, best of luck to Dema, he was the kind of player any team would want (agree moreso before the car wreck) and especially the kind I like to see busting caps in the swamp.