Orlando City continued with its series of off-season signings and trades since the end of the 2017 campaign and have traded midfielder Carlos Rivas and and defender Tommy Redding to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for midfielder Sasha Kljestan, according to the team’s website. The Lions will also receive $150,000 in targeted allocated funds in addition to the trade agreement.

“We are thrilled to bring Sacha to Orlando,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a press release. “His ability to see the field and make the final pass will be huge assets for us. But more than that, he’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s gone, and we look forward to that continuing here.”

The move to acquire the Belgian talent points to Orlando City looking to quickly replace Kaka, who retired back in December after spending three season with the Lions. Kljestan leads Major League Soccer with 51 assists since the 2015 season and should bring a level of playmaking ability Orlando at times lacked in 2017.

Last season for the 14-12-8 Red Bulls, Kljestan recorded three goals and 10 assists in which looked like a down year for the 32-year old. Orlando City should have one of the more formidable attackers in the midfield and forward positions, as the Lions are slated to have Kljestan, Dom Davis and Cyle Larin. 

News about Orlando City’s trade for Kljestan broke late night, but was confirmed earlier today by the team. Through numerous moves this off-season made by trades and signings, Orlando City is looking to make leaps and bounds for the 2018 campaign.

The Lions fell well short of their high expectations heading into the 2017 season. Orlando City finished with a disappointing record of 10-15-9 and 39 points, which was 30 behind Eastern Conference leader Toronto FC.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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