The league-leading San Jose Earthquakes have landed another weapon in the race for the Supporters' Shield.
San Jose on Monday acquired veteran playmaking midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for a 2013 international spot and a conditional 2013 draft pick.
“I’ve admired his play over the seven years he’s been in the league,” Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop said in a club statement. “He’s steadily improved since joining MLS. Mehdi’s a good player, a great addition to our team and we’re looking forward to having him here in San Jose.”
WATCH: Ballouchy goal vs. Montreal
The Quakes, who are already the highest scoring team in MLS with 45 goals, add a player who has 13 goals and 24 assists during the course of his seven-year MLS career. He has seen limited action in 2012 for the Red Bulls, with only 10 starts (one goal and two assists). The addition of new designated player Tim Cahill may have made Ballouchy expendable.
"It was a difficult decision to let Mehdi go,” New York Red Bulls GM and Sporting Director Erik Soler said in a club statement. “However, trading him provides us additional roster and financial flexibility moving forward.”
Ballouchy was born in Morocco, but moved to the United States as a teenager and has connections to Northern California. He relocated to the Bay Area for his senior year of high school at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. He also played collegiate soccer at Santa Clara University, where he was a first-team All-American in 2005.
The Red Bulls originally acquired Ballouchy in 2010 in a trade with the Colorado Rapids. Often praised by NY manager Hans Backe for his technical abilities, the midfielder played in 51 regular season games for New York with mixed results in that span. He had four goals and four assists in those matches.
The move is just the latest for a Red Bulls front office that has kept busy all season long. The other transactions executed this year inlcude the trade of Juan Agudelo to Chivas USA in exchange for Heath Pearce, allocation money and future considerations, and the recent deal sending Dane Richards and allocation money to acquire Sébastien Le Toux from the Vancouver Whitecaps.