New York Red Bull head coach Mike Petke has confirmed that the club was forced to trade leading scorer Kenny Cooper last week.
The 28-year old, who was runner-up to Chris Wondolowski in the Golden Boot with 18 goals last season, is now with FC Dallas following the trade and Petke insisted that it was simply a matter of having a near-full salary cap which is expected to be $2.97million in 2013.
"As far as I understand it, that's close to being exactly right. Our budget, we were over by a lot, OK?" Petke said.
"This is not a situation where getting rid of Kenny and replace him with another player we found. This is a move made to bring three or four players in. If it was to bring someone else in, we would've kept Kenny.
"We were told a month ago we needed to get rid of him now, and we said no. We explored every option."
He added: "To be honest, when the situation first came up a while ago, it was unheard-of. It was like, you're kidding me, no chance.
"What he brings to the locker room, that was situation that was a long time in discussion between Andy (Roxburgh) and I. First it was not a chance. Then it was the financial people telling us what we were looking at; and the third stage was well, is there a way to avoid it?
"If we kept Kenny - we know what he brings us, and it's phenomenal - but we wouldn't have been able to add anyone. (We couldn't sign) all the supplemental picks and trialists we have in camp. And a step further, certainly a third DP would be out of the question."