In the latest MLS move by a former Chivas USA player, the New York Red Bulls announced on Tuesday that they have signed defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste. His signing was announced by the club alongside two more defenders, returning reserve Damien Perrinelle and MLS newcomer Ronald Zubar.
AJB spent 2014 with CUSA after being traded there from the Portland Timbers ahead of the season for longtime midfielder/defender Jorge Villafana. His third season in the league was admittedly difficult, as he was sidelined more than two months midseason after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, and fell down the pecking order among the center backs as a result. He did see some spot duty in a pinch at left back, but got most of his minutes at his natural position.
The move seems to be a solid fit for Jean-Baptiste, as he grew up in the area and the Red Bulls' defense is in considerable flux heading into the coming season. I'm not sure that he'll be a starter, but if he can bounce back from 2014 it's not inconceivable, and I expect he'll get at least some minutes regardless. Plus, his rapport with fans is good, and being a local will probably endear him even more to Red Bulls supporters who have been going through a pretty tumultuous stretch this offseason.
Best of luck to Andrew this season.
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