NEW YORK – New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Ángel could have ended up with the playoff-bound LA Galaxy or Seattle Sounders via a midseason trade, according to ESPN's Allen Hopkins.
Hopkins said on Thursday's edition of ExtraTime Radio that Ángel – who told reporters earlier Thursday that he won't be back with the Red Bulls in 2011 – was also coveted by the Colorado Rapids and D.C. United, but no deal could be reached between the Red Bulls and any of the four clubs interested in the Colombian international's services.
A league source confirmed that several teams asked the Red Bulls for permission to speak with Ángel.
"Going back to July and specifically in Houston at the MLS All-Star Game, Juan was told at that point that he would not be renewed with New York, and that he could leave immediately if he could find another club," Hopkins said.
Ángel, who turns 35 next week, said on Tuesday on ESPN that he didn't expect to be back in a Red Bulls uniform next season, then confirmed that suspicion after a Red Bulls training session on Thursday.
“I know that I won't be a part of this team next year,” said Ángel, the club's all-time leading scorer and one of three current Designated Players. “For a fact."
Hopkins added that the Sounders were interested in Ángel before they traded Freddie Ljungberg to Chicago in July, marking the first DP trade in league history.
Ángel has scored double-digit goals in each of his four seasons in the league and his 13 tallies in 2010 are just three behind the league’s scoring leader, LA Galaxy front man Edson Buddle.