HANOVER, N.J. — The summer transfer window for the New York Red Bulls ended with Abang.
Anatole Abang, to be exact. The 22-year-old forward is set to rejoin the Red Bulls after his year-long loan to Astra Giurgiu in Romania’s Liga I ended at the end of July and he’s expected to join the team on Thursday.
Abang scored five times in 26 appearances. It was his fourth loan — and third abroad — since signing with the Red Bulls following a trail in March, 2015. He scored four goals in 17 appearances in 2015 and, after seeing limited action in eight contests in 2016, Abang was loaned to Red Bulls II before joining Danish Superliga side Hobro IK and SJK in Finland.
Although not technically a transfer window move, Abang joins Brian White, the club’s first-round selection in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, who signed from Red Bulls II on August 4, to provide depth up front for the stretch drive of the regular season.
The first signing of the window was Andreas Ivan, the 23-year-old attack-minded Romanian right winger, on July 20. Ivan, who has played in the German lower divisions, spent a week on trail with the Red Bulls.
“The first impression was very good,” Ivan said. “That’s why I come here. I think I did it right.”
Ivan had other options, reportedly including a trial with Hamburger SV in 2. Bundesliga. But he rejected that offer and agreed to terms with the Red Bulls late last month.
“I went to watch other clubs, but here I think it was the right step for me, the right division,” Ivan said. “Everything is right so that’s why in the end I choose the MLS and to come here to New York.”
After sorting out his work visa, Ivan was late joining his new teammates, but he has impressed already.
“He’s a technical player. I think he fits the system really well, he’s coachable for sure, he’s always trying to learn,” fellow midfielder Sean Davis said. “I think we’ve only had him for a few days of training so far, but it’s been really positive and it’s great to have him here after working on his visa for a little bit. I think he’s good around goal, I think he’s also willing to work on the defensive side of the ball so I think it’s a great fit for us.”
Ivan describes himself as a “technical player — fast, scoring, love to score, but assist also, fast skills, play together, love the game and much fun on the pitch.”
His attack-first mindset fits perfectly into what the Red Bulls want to do, according to coach Chris Armas.
“He’s an attacker who is an Option A forward runner, passer, thinks about the goal all the time,” Armas said. “That’s what we saw in him that we liked and now even within our team we can see now that we need to emphasize even more where it’s not so much about connecting passes. It’s about getting to goal as quick as possible, which might require a sideways pass, but we really want to get to goal.”
Baring anything in the final moments of the window, the Red Bulls only made subtle changes to a side that has proven to be among the league’s elite this season. Armas said he is happy with the squad as currently constructed as a squad that can make a run at both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.
“I’m really comfortable. In every position we have depth,” Armas said. “If you look around the field, we feel comfortable that we can make a real push. We like our group.”