Help has arrived in New York.
New York Red Bulls’ barren summer came to an end on Tuesday when the reigning Supporters’ Shield holders sent Andre Akpan and allocation money to the New England Revolution in exchange for Saer Sene and an international roster spot.
In many ways, this could prove to be a great move for the Red Bulls. The organizations gets rid of a player that has never found his foot in the league and acquired a player that tore up the stat sheets in his first season in MLS.
Akpan hasn’t scored a league goal since 2012 when he was with the Colorado Rapids. Harvard’s all-time leading scorer will be looking to make the most of New England’s issues up top and finally lock down a starting spot.
Now back to the man of the hour; Sene.
The French forward will make a big impact with his new club because of his versatility, experience and hunger for regular first team minutes.
The 27-year-old is a product of Paris Saint-Germain’s youth academy and has plied his trade in Germany and Fance. He can play out wide and down the middle. His size and deceptive pace makes him a dynamic attacker that knows how to lose his marker and create chances for himself or for a teammate.
The seasoned forward is driven and that focus will make him a key player off the bench as New York tries to squeeze into the playoffs.
“I think he’s (Sene) a very versatile player as far as attacking-wise,” head coach Mike Petke said. “I think a two-forward system suits him better than a lone-forward system that a lot of times you find New England was playing. Out wide, yes, he has the pace, he has the skill and he likes to get forward, which is something that I like. We want our attacking players to look to get forward first and then play the safe option second.
“We feel like we got quality in this trade and somebody who has the experience and has shown in the past his ability to be very dangerous. Whether that be up top or whether that be out wide, we’re confident that we’re getting somebody that is going to help us out.”
Petke made no mistake when he said a forward that was struggling at New England will help New York. Sene is relatively fresh because he’s only played 10 games, five off the bench, this season. Unlike the Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips, the ex-Bayern Munich B forward is full of energy.
If New York makes it to the playoffs, it would be a new territory for Sene, but the journeyman will adapt quickly.
Sene’s acquisition makes so much sense because of the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League games. New York will play its first game – against C.D. FAS — in the continental tournament on Aug. 26.
By signing Sene, the Red Bulls now have a replacement for Henry. It would be a surprise if the Arsenal legend plays in the tournament because of the long distance traveling and his focus on lifting the MLS Cup.
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