Hamlett Defends Roster Moves

Matt Kremkau

Red Bulls logoHARRISON, N.J. – For a team with a history of filling its roster with international and domestic luminaries, from Roberto Donadoni and Tab Ramos to Lothar Matthäus and Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls have left that era behind and don’t seem to be heading back anytime soon.

At least if you hear Sporting Director Denis Hamlett.

After the recent midseason transfer window in which New York acquired the Gambian forward Muhamed Keita and the Panamanian defender Fidel Escobar and signed the free-agent midfielder Dilly Duka, Hamlett explained the team’s roster decisions to reporters before Saturday’s match against Orlando at Red Bull Arena.

“The landscape is changing,” Hamlett said in reference to a question about Dom Dwyer‘s trade from Kansas City or Orlando. “Teams feel the urgency, feel the pressure because if they’re not doing well often they need to make a splash, bring in a player that they think they can help them and so we have to be sure we’re mindful and we don’t get caught up in that.

“We feel good about our current roster, made some additions, and for us that’s the most important thing in terms of our roster and assessing it, what do we need to keep on the path we’re going.”

Reminded that Coach Jesse Marsch referred to Keita’s and Escobar’s arrival before they were announced as “difference makers,” Hamlett didn’t turn attention to the current roster.

“I think we have two difference makers for the last two and a half years,” he said. “I thought Bradley [Wright-Phillips] and Sacha [Kljestan] are two difference makers. People constantly have this dialogue that we don’t have difference makers. I’m looking at Bradley. Here’s a guy that’s most prolific goal scorers since he’s been in this league. Same as Sacha.

“We feel we have those. The most important thing is bringing in players to sort of compliment the group we have to make sure we have a complete roster so that when the moment comes to the playoffs, we have the resources that can step on the field.”