The lowdown on the Van Den Bergh trade

So why exactly did the New York Red Bulls trade away Dave Van Den Berg, arguably their most valuable player of 2008?

They traded him because he asked to be traded.

According to sources, Van Den Bergh approached the Red Bulls soon after MLS Cup and asked to be traded to FC Dallas, with one of the key reasons being Van Den Bergh's wife has family in Dallas which could help them with the care of their oldest son, who has been battling an undisclosed illness. The Red Bulls weighed the request, along with Van Den Bergh's own demands for a new contract, and decided the best thing to do for all parties involved was to trade the 32-year-old winger away.

Whether the club would have kept Van Den Bergh if not for the request is something that will only ever really be known by head coach Juan Carlos Osorio and technical director Jeff Agoos, but the fact remains the Red Bulls still managed to get good value for Van Den Bergh.

I will offer a further breakdown of the trade and what it means for the Red Bulls on Wednesday. For now, Red Bulls fans might want to think about the possibilities the club has now with a speedy young forward to pair alongside Juan Pablo Angel, as well as the 11th and 18th overall picks in an MLS Draft considered by almost every front office in MLS as being deep with talent.

Given this information, how do feel about the trade? Still hate it for the Red Bulls? Is it more acceptable knowing the circumstances? Think the Red Bulls made out?

Share your thoughts below.

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69 Responses to The lowdown on the Van Den Bergh trade

  1. Steve says:

    Good for the Red Bulls for honoring his wish and good luck to his son.

  2. Derek says:

    Oduro might get to thrive at New York, in a lineup with Angel and Dane Richards and Rojas in the middle.

  3. bellbj8 says:

    well… i guess if he asked for it then whatever… good luck to him and i hope his son gets better… but if this is a miami/marve situation i will be pissed… and then he better watch because you don’t cross a mercer county boy… plus aren’t there top notch doctors in NYC?? oh well

  4. Miguel says:

    I guess it’s more acceptable to me knowing the circumstances. Now, Ives, who do you think the Red Bulls will get with the #11 pick. Might be time for mock draft #5.

  5. Eugene says:

    Still hate it. Kandji is also getting re-signed. Who will play left wing? Oduro can’t create and Rojas can’t defend. Now we have a new problem to fix instead of focusing on the ones we already had.

    Watch NY now trade Magee for a defender from the league’s worst defense last year. Makes a lot of sense. Possibly the most clever combination of transactions ever to happen with NY.

    How is this fair value for NY? We trade a starter, a good left wing (which is hard to come by in this league), and the second best midfielder last year by points for a guy who was a sub. We should have at least gotten two subs for Van den Bergh.

    Even taking your word on the depth of this draft, the draft picks are at best lotto tickets. Not at all clear who we’ll get and if that person will perform next year.

    This deal could stink a little less if out of all the transactions coming we somehow wind up with Conde and Johann Smith. Although we’ll still need a consistent starter-quality left wing.

    Pass the anti-nausea Zofran… it’s another Red Bulls offseason with Agoos and JCO in charge.

  6. Isaac says:

    Thanks for the explaination Ives. When you’re Van Den Bergh’s age and you know you’re not gonna be around the soccer scene for very much longer its important to end it in a place where you’re happy. Thats not to say he wouldn’t have been happy in New York, but that he would have been happier that his wife was with her family. Nice RBNY. As far as the trade goes, Oduro has proved to work well with strikers like Angel(Cooper) so this could be a nice addition to the NY lineup. Wonder what NY will do about the backline this month.

  7. Eugene says:

    Not a medical issue, a family support issue for his wife who is from Dallas.

  8. A.S. says:

    “For now, Red Bulls fans might want to think about the possibilities the club has now with a speedy young forward to pair alongside Juan Pablo Angel, as well as the 11th and 18th overall picks in an MLS Draft considered by almost every front office in MLS as being deep with talent.”

    I like getting a speedy young forward. The experience with Dane Richards has been wholly positive, and if this guy can give NYRB Richards-like performance on the left side, that would be quite a pair. (Is that asking too much? I suppose so.) The question is, who can get the ball to these guys on the run? Rojas?

    Getting mid-level draft picks? Meh. Deep draft, shmeep draft. Who were the 11th and 18th picks in the last “deep draft”?

    Getting mucho cap space? That’s intriguing, but (as I’ve said before), last year’s experience makes me question JCO’s ability to recognize talent to fill that cap space.

  9. Smith says:

    Kmowing this, any fan who complains about the trade lives outsied of reality. JCO & Goose did right by DVDB.

  10. arena futbol says:

    Will Borman be back? Possible LM candidate. Nothing special, but cheap salary with potential to be a decent MLS-level player.

    How about one of Conway or Cepero to ChivasUSA (they need a GK) for U-20 standout LM “Sueno” Flores? That would give RBNY two options at LM: slow but experienced (Rojas) v. speedy but young (Flores).

  11. ELAC says:

    Good luck to his son.

  12. kpugs says:

    Ok, this is a whole nother story now. In terms of the soccer side of things I stand by what I said, but now I completely understand why the move was made, which I didn’t before. Best wishes to VDB and his family.

  13. DCUinCT says:

    Wow. MLS does good by a player. Probably worth bringing this up at collective bargaining agreement time, one in the collumn to ballance out all the development contracts.

  14. Cindy says:

    well knowing that he has very acceptable reasons for wanting to be traded makes the pill much easier to swallow

  15. Richard, UK says:

    I think New York’s team is shaping up nicely for next year. Probably just me.

  16. CM says:

    Any RBNY fan who is also a parent, should have no complaints and kudos to the front office for coming up with a deal. Now, hopefully they can grab a couple decent players in the draft…

    Good Luck Dave and thanks for all your hard work in NY

  17. John says:

    1. RBNY is a weaker team with DVD gone even with the swap of first round picks, the additional second rounder and Oduro. You can put a spin on it anyway you want but if RBNY signs a talented forward to augment Angel and Richards doesn’t move back to midfield, there is a fair chance Oduro doesn’t even make the team.

    2. That said, as I mentioned in the previous thread, Agoos and co got something for nothing. VDB asked to be traded, even last year JCO wasn’t a big fan of his (re-read some of Ives’ notes at the start of last season and VdB was a risk of being waived outright). Instead of having him go to Europe (and getting nothing) the team at least acquired two young players (#2 pick and Oduro) so that’s depth and swapped places to move up into the first round. In a season where the team will play a lot more games (and thus depth will matter a lot), that’s basically 2 and maybe 3 reserve players that the team added for a guy who was probably gone anyway.

  18. BellusLudas says:

    Our prayers are with the Van Den Bergs. Somethings are just more important than this great game.

  19. Matt says:

    Ives, what is the story with Kandji? Do we have him signed or not?

  20. Oscillate says:

    If DvdB wanted out for family reasons, I gotta respect that. Thanks Dave for a great couple years and for the respect you gave us fans. Vaya con dios.

  21. sack says:

    He said he would stay here for another year…i would have rather had him than some backup forward that cant actually play the mental side of soccer and some draft picks that will either suck or cant be signed to dev contracts (ala last year’s first rounder)

    BTW- this now means we have ZERO leftsided players, unless you include Rojas who was far from impressive in the two times he played there last season. No team in MLS can win anything with no balance on the flanks.

  22. Joamiq says:

    Well, I can’t be upset about this anymore. RB did the right thing.

    Still – a speedy young forward to pair with Angel? I thought we already had that in Kandji. Oduro might thrive in NY, or he might not. Having three competent forwards is never a bad thing, but I’d like to know what the plan is for left mid. And matching VDB is going to be next to impossible, so if we can’t, I hope there’s a plan to upgrade elsewhere.

  23. nando says:

    It’s official, Kandji has signed with the Red Bulls! Read it on Red Bulls Reader(the New York Red Bulls link to the right under MLS Team Blogs)

  24. Tim F. says:

    Good luck to his son. Still wish he was a Red Bull or at least that the Red Bulls got more out of the trade.

  25. andy says:

    makes much more sense, good for vdb

  26. PCFC says:

    There are somethings more important than sports. I hope the best for his son.

    There is a close community amongst American soccer fans in this country. Take the massive response to Andy Williams’ dilemma in Salt Lake. Dave…If you need help, just ask.

  27. Furball says:

    If this is the case, good on Red Bull. I think it is going to be a huge loss. DVB was their best player in the playoffs last season. I’m wondering if cutting salary by almost 150,000 means that the Red Bull are more interested in bringing in a DP for the midfield. I would love to see Riquelme!!!!

  28. krabby patty says:

    Great that the bulls honored van den bergh’s wishes and good luck to his kid, but come one now the red bulls have more problems than before. Kandji is better than oduro and now who is going to defend on the left. This really doesn’t make sense. I hope they sign someone great in the upcoming months with this cap room, let’s not screw up another off season this year huh red bull’s front office.

  29. chicagosoccerguy says:

    To all of you who bashed before knowing, remember this when you go to bash again.

  30. Matt says:

    Thanks nando. That’s good news – I think. We’ll definitely have more speed than we had to start last season. But I am worried about our defense.

  31. Voodoo says:

    Very well expressed, BellusLudas. This background saga puts things in perspective.

    Hopefully this is a win/ not-huge-loss for both VDB and the RBs.

  32. beckster says:

    So Ives, knowing this, and knowing that Convey has been in discussions with MLS (along with European teams), are the Red Bulls after Convey for left wing to replace Van den bergh?

  33. Dave says:

    “For now, Red Bulls fans might want to think about the possibilities the club has now with a speedy young forward to pair alongside Juan Pablo Angel, as well as the 11th and 18th overall picks in an MLS Draft considered by almost every front office in MLS as being deep with talent.”

    I like getting a speedy young forward. The experience with Dane Richards has been wholly positive, and if this guy can give NYRB Richards-like performance on the left side, that would be quite a pair. (Is that asking too much? I suppose so.) The question is, who can get the ball to these guys on the run? Rojas?

    Getting mid-level draft picks? Meh. Deep draft, shmeep draft. Who were the 11th and 18th picks in the last “deep draft”?

    Getting mucho cap space? That’s intriguing, but (as I’ve said before), last year’s experience makes me question JCO’s ability to recognize talent to fill that cap space.

    Posted by: A.S. | January 13, 2009 at 04:23 PM

    Not sure about 18, but wasn’t Altidore drafted at 17 in 2006? That wasn’t even close to as deep of a draft as this one…

  34. coach don says:

    of course, it weakens the team to not have VDB, but we seemingly did the right thing considering the circumstances. my biggest fear is that coach and agoof haven’t actually convinced me of their abilities to evaluate talent. Maybe if they would just draft the players we think they should – we’d be alright.

  35. Matty C says:

    Don’t forget A.S., the Jozy was picked up with the #17 pick in the draft… If you do your research and get a little luck, you can do pretty well for your club.

  36. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Actually Dave, Altidore was 16 when he was drafted.

  37. jmac says:

    The most comparable trade this offseason is the Dynamo sending DeRo to Toronto for a young CB and an allocation. Considering that VDB was a more valuable part of Red Bulls than DeRo was in Houston THIS LAST YEAR, and the Red Bulls (arguably) getting only marginally more (slightly higher-regarded prospect + low first round pick + draft pick swap v. 200K+ allocation for the dynamo, this trade has to be considered a failure, as was the Dynamo’s DeRo trade.

  38. Dave says:

    Met DVB at the Glen Ridge NJ Starbucks one Saturday morning in the summer. He was reading a Dutch soccer rag…he was very nice. Embarassed my wife. totally sweet.

  39. sack says:

    I dont care what the “reason” was, fact remains it was a horrible trade.

    I dont care about other peoples kids, i care about winning trophies. Sue me.

  40. Zach says:

    I just read that LA has traded for Magee. Now for all u LA fans who think its an awful trade, i think u should look at it again. With Magee at RM, Klein moves to RB, Franklin to CB, if they can get a CB and LB then draft sam cronin at CDM, then the situation is fixed and its a matter of results, rather than blaming each other.

  41. sack says:


    Convey sucked when he was in MLS last time, at least according to DC fans and since hisa injury spell he hasn’t done anything at Reading.

    Can you say Reyna 2.0?

  42. CSD says:


    How exactly is either trade supposed to be judged a failure or a success at this point? No one has played a game yet involved in either of these trades. It is a little early to judge an off season trade a failure or a success. TFC hasn’t even officially announced DeRo.

  43. Yossarian says:

    It’s always good to have speed, but we really need it in our midfield. We seem to have a certain amount of replication of talent at forward with this guy and Kandji, Mbouta and Dane. All these guys might be best suited up front, though you could argue that Dane and Mbouta are really wings.

  44. jmac says:

    CSD, everyone does immediate trade analysis. that is how it works. then later you do analysis with the benefit of hindsight. again, this is how it works.

  45. Sterlinho says:

    What are you guys complaining about? I would take Oduro up front over Grandpa Wolyneic anyday.

    To Zach:

    Klein already plays RB for the Galaxy and they have a RM you may have heard of…David Beckham ring a bell?

  46. Eugene says:

    Well, I’m a family man so I do care about Van den Bergh’s situation with his child and I understand that family is more important than any job.

    However, that doesn’t make the trade any better. Its fine to have done right by Dave and traded him for this reason, but NY should have gotten more in return. Prior to knowing this information Dallas fans were almost universally happy and NY fans were almost universally upset. Now NY fans know the reason for the deal, but it doesn’t change what value was exchanged.

  47. cb says:

    thanks for the report, ives. ouch! VDB will be sorely missed. i wish him the best with his family, but it’s a big hit for NYRB. we’ve got borman and roth for the left wing now (if rojas stays at CAM) … i like both guys but … we’re really going to miss VDB.

  48. beckster says:

    Sack, I am a DC fan and Convey totally didn’t suck when he was in DC which is why both Tottenham (couldn’t get work permit) and Reading jumped on him. He was instrumetal to Readings promotion two years and is now back in form. I can’t imagine that he’d come for mls money but NY would be hard pressed to find anyone that could deliver crosses to Angel from the left like he can. The kid is 25 years old. He ain’t no Reina.

  49. mikeK says:

    Believe it or not, the sky isn’t falling.

    Who will play LM? Rojas. Remember, he’s not a natural CAM, he plays on the left for his national team. I think he deserves a shot out there before we write him off.

    We need the forward on our roster, which has been bloated with midfielders. Losing someone of VDB is going to hurt, but it’s a sad fact of sports that players move on. I’m not going to start shouting doom until we’re losing.

    It could be worse. He could’ve gone to DC.

  50. Mark says:

    Wow, I haven’t been able to check-in to SBI lately due to work and family commitments, and when I logged on I find out they traded my favorite player on the team. This sucks, though if the story about him actually wanting to go to Dallas is true, I’m glad they let him go and were able to get something back, even if it isn’t really equal value in my opinion.

  51. Eugene says:

    mikeK, the sky isn’t falling — it’s the NYRB ticket sales that may start falling. Not that they have far to fall.

    Rojas can’t play D. That’s a big problem. I guess it all depends on the club’s other moves this offseason.

    If this ends up badly though, there will be hell to pay.

  52. Eugene says:

    Convey would be a very capable add on left wing, but not for DP money. Also, he’d come back through the allocation process, so it’s not at all clear that we’d have a shot of signing him.

  53. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Eugene- What could NJRB possibly offer to TFC for Johann Smith? I honestly cant think of anyone…

  54. Joamiq says:

    I personally don’t really think there’s that much value in moving up in the draft. Serviceable MLS players usually come from all over the draft, and there aren’t dramatically more from the first round than the third round.

  55. metrostar 4 life says:

    Thanks DVB for the good moments… maybe in a couple of years you will be back? who knows.

  56. Andre` says:

    I love that some fans are crying about this trade, and yet, some of us, actually see us as a stronger team now. I do. I think we got alot out of this deal that probably wasn’t worth it. We sent an aging left winger with no speed whatsoever who would’ve been a big cap hit for what he brought to the table, and in return got alot of youth and capspace. It’s perfect. Everyone wins, Even Van den Bergh does. He came to MLS originally to play in Dallas.

    My only minor complaint, I would have rather one of the other young players Dallas has, like Dax Mccarty or maybe Brek Shea. But I really love this deal. One of the better deals I can remember for some time.

    Watch what this team does next year.

  57. Pete in Bucktown says:

    Well, that’s a legit reason to ask for a trade. Unlike, say, your wife asking to go to New Jersey because she’s too cold.

    Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it Osorio?

  58. CPTKevin says:

    I left the Army after 9+ years (almost 1/2 way to retirement) due to my son’s illness. We make tough choices as parents for the welfare of our family. I think the NJRB did the right thing. Good luck to VDB and his family in Dallas.

  59. Barry Jive and His Uptown Five says:

    It would have been hypocritical of Osorio to deny VDB’s request, as he did a similar move from Chicago to be near family in NY.

  60. RK says:

    Glad this could work out. Classy.

  61. Rob C says:

    I’m glad almost everyone is seeing this the right way. Family is more important than soccer, and the Red Bulls actually treated vdB in the way a first-class organization would.

    From a soccer standpoint. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: LET’S SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT. You simply cannot judge “equal value” until you see the draft picks and watch Oduro play 15-20 games.

    He NEVER started for Dallas. If he gets minutes with RBNY and pops up with 12 goals, will everyone be saying “we didn’t get equal value for Dave”?

    Oduro is only 23. There is something to be said for youth in this equation, as well as the money saved by RBNY. Right now, it looks as though Agoos and Osorio are trying to not only get quality, but also quantity, considering the team will be competing in 3 competitions this season. We all saw what happened in the Open Cup last year when RBNY played mostly a second string roster…an embarassing loss to Crystal Palace Baltimore. I’m glad the team is trying to be competitive in all competitions next year.

    The season starts two months from now, and there are more deals and signings to be made. Let’s see how the WHOLE ROSTER looks before we made judgments as well. Osorio might have a left wing in mind that’s on the market.

  62. Chris says:

    Makes more sense than giving away one of their best players.

  63. cam says:

    im from miami so i dont have a team in the mls currently (until miami fcb comes to fruition), and have been looking for one to pull for in the meantime because i find it easier to follow a league when you have a specific team to root for.

    this settles it. in 2009 i will pull for new york red bull. this was a very classy move, good for them.

  64. Chosun says:

    Interesting…I was watching Fox Soccer Report, and they talked about this transfer, and (I believe) cited “soccer blog Ives” as the source.

  65. Octavio says:

    The silver lining is that it gives Rojas a chance to play where he’s most comfortable – on the left wing – and hopefully ends the pretense that he’s a playmaking central midfielder.

  66. Tim says:

    How is the DeRo trade a failure? Houston has Stuard Holden ready to step in and probably be equally as good as DeRo. RB have no one at left wing.

  67. inkedAG says:

    I’m understanding about the trade due to family concerns. As far as value, it’s a shitty trade.

  68. RichBull NJNY says:

    I like the cap space and the picks, but will miss VDB. “Speedy young forward” has been paired w/ Angel before, so that means squat to me right now. Now if they can get some value for that over-rated Magee…

  69. RichBull NJNY says:

    Let’s also enjoy the fact that all the other “major” leagues would never give a flying F about a player’s family requests. Nice to hear it’s win win (we hope).