One of the glaring holes facing the New York Red Bulls has been filled, as they acquired Wilman Conde's rights from the Chicago Fire and then immediately signed the center back on Monday. The Fire previously held Conde's rights, who had left MLS after the 2010 season to play in Mexico and the Red Bulls sent them an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
The Red Bulls were in serious need of a centerback with the transfer of Tim Ream to Bolton. Conde should prove to be a suitable replacement. During his last stint in MLS, he was twice named to the league's Best XI.
"One of our offseason priorities was to solidify our defense and adding Wilman certainly does that," Red Bulls General Manager Erik Soler said in a team release. "During his stint in Major League Soccer, Wilman quickly established himself as one of the League’s top defenders and he will play an immediate role in our back line. He is strong, physical and experienced and he will be a tremendous addition to our club."
Conde will almost certainly start alongside Swedish import Markus Holgersson. The 6-foot-2 Conde and 6-foot-3 Holgersson will form one of the biggest centerback pairings in the league. More significantly, they significantly transform a position that last year seemed to be more focused on the passing skills of their defenders than their defending.
For more on this move, be sure to check out Red Bulls blog Once a Metro.