Indeed, Joel Lindpere was a work horse for the Red Bulls and a beloved figure for the fans and his teammates.
When he was traded to Chicago for virtually nothing, it came as a shock to many followers of the team.
Current Red Bull interim coach Mike Petke revealed there really was no other choice in the matter.
“It wasn’t that we wanted to let him go,” he told Sirius XM radio’s Counter Attack show. “It’s that we had to.”
The restrictive nature of the league left New York with difficult decisions to make. “It’s not always how good the player is,” Petke explained, “it’s can you fit him in within a system with a low salary cap budget.
“Sending Joel to Chicago frees up an international spot and decent amount of money where we can possibly get two players out of his salary.”
Petke understands the emotional back and forth involved in these decisions, both from a player and managers perspective. “Joel and I had a funny thing every time I saw him,” he explained. “I would tell him – ‘I am looking at my favorite player in MLS.’” However, as an assistant with the team, he now says he better understands the difficulties balancing a restrictive salary can bring.
All in all, the interim boss labeled the Estonian midfielder a “casualty of the restraints of the salary cap.”