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Heavy Red Bulls offseason movement continues with Joel Lindpere trade to Chicago

Jan 5, 2013, 8:02 PM EDT

New York Red Bulls v FC Dallas - Wild Card Match Getty Images

The Red Bulls sure are working hard to ensure that this year’s team looks very, very little like last year’s team. It’s a bold play, considering last year’s healthy 16-9-9 record.

The latest departure is Joel Lindpere, who is now property of the Chicago Fire.

Just two years ago Lindpere may have been the most valuable Red Bulls man, setting a club record for minutes played, finishing tied for tops in assists and reliably manufacturing important goals out of the midfield.

Something happened in 2012, when he started slowly and seemed to lose the confidence of then-manager Hans Backe. So it was not wholly surprising when the Red Bulls traded their industrious Estonian on Saturday – although the return for Lindpere seems mighty sparse.

In exchange for the 31-year-old worker bee of a midfielder, the Red Bulls get an international roster spot.

That’s it. And that’s not a lot – even if the Red Bulls’ ongoing roster makeover seems a shoe-in to have a heavy European influence, which means they’ll be needing that international slot around the Harrison grounds.

For Chicago, this is a steal. While losing very little they get a man relentless, emotional, versatile midfielder. He can spell Alvaro Fernandez on the left. Or Lindpere can line up centrally, where he will offer more forward thrust from the center of the park than either Pavel Pardo or Logan Pause.

He’s easily more of a box-to-box type than either of those guys.

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