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Sources: Red Bulls close to signing two playmakers

The Red Bulls are close to unwrapping two gifts this holiday season to bolster a team that won the Eastern Conference championship in 2010.

The Red Bulls are close to unwrapping two gifts this holiday season to bolster a team that won the Eastern Conference championship in 2010.

The Red Bulls are set to offer a contract to University of Maryland star midfielder Matt Kassel, a league source told Metro. The 21-year-old New Jersey native played in the Red Bulls Academy while at Bridgewater High School before leaving to play at perennial power Maryland. He has been a fixture in the youth national team ranks for the past several years and is considered a dynamic playmaker who is comfortable on the ball.

Kassel, if signed, would be the third “homegrown” player under contract with the Red Bulls, who drew respectable crowds during the first season in their new stadium.

In addition to the young American, the team is also in the process of finalizing a contract with Englishman Luke Rodgers. The speedy and diminutive attacker can line up as a forward or a midfielder and should be a solid complement to Thierry Henry. Rodgers is expected to sign a two-year deal worth as much as $400,000 with a club option for two more, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Red Bulls coach Hans Backe was excited to add Rodgers this past summer, but the 28-year-old was turned down for a visa to enter the country due to legal problems stemming from several alcohol related incidents.

The Red Bulls would not comment on the offers.

 
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