Note: This story was originally posted on Monday, April 24; it was updated on Tuesday, April 25 after the transaction was officially confirmed
New York City FC traded left wingback Malte Amundsen to Columbus Crew for up to $500,000 in allocation money. The deal was first reported by Tom Bogert of The Athletic and has since been confirmed by both teams. The transaction arrived before the close of the MLS Primary Transfer Window, which officially shut at midnight Central Time (1 am ET).
Transfer oracle Bogert, who himself just made the move to The Athletic from the MLS website, reported that “Columbus was in the market for a left wingback after Will Sands went down with an injury on Saturday.”
If that Columbus left wingback sounds familiar, he should: Will is the twin brother of NYCFC’s James, and is an ex-NYCFC Academy player himself. NYCFC sold Columbus his “Homegrown Priority” rights for $50,000 in allocation money back in 2022, and the other Sands twin had been the Crew’s preferred starter at left wingback in seven of their nine 2023 matches.
In Matchday 9, Sands sadly suffered a torn ACL playing on the artificial turf surface at Charlotte FC’s American football stadium, thus opening a glaring hole the Crew will now hope Amundsen can fill.
Amundsen joined NYCFC before the 2021 season from Vejle Boldklub in his native Denmark, and established himself as the starting left wingback under then-coach Ronny Deila. Amundsen played in 32 matches that year, but made only 14 starts, as he and Gudi Thórarinsson largely split time on the defensive left. Amundsen was on the field when NYCFC won the 2021 MLS Cup in Portland after relieving Thórarinsson as a sub in minute 90+2.
After Thórarinsson left the club post-MLS Cup win, Amundsen became the regular left wingback starter for much of the 2022 season. In Nick Cushing’s time in charge of NYCFC, though, Amundsen’s playing time has diminished to the point of now being nonexistent.
The wingback last appeared for NYCFC way back on September 10, 2022, when he started in NYCFC’s away loss to Charlotte FC. The 25-year-old fully fell down the depth chart when Cushing changed NYCFC’s formation while looking to spark a late-season uptick in form. 2022 SuperDraft selection Kevin O’Toole replaced Amundsen and never looked back, starting every match as the team made another run to the Eastern Conference Final.
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So far this season, Braian Cufré has been entrenched as left back starter since his arrival on loan from RCD Mallorca, and O’Toole has made three appearances as a substitute. Amundsen frequently has been left entirely out of NYCFC’s match day squad, and Cushing has admitted the player is “out of the team,” making this trade a logical move for Amundsen and both involved clubs.
In exchange for Amundsen, NYCFC is receiving $200,000 in general allocation money in 2023 and 2024, with an additional $100,000 possible via unspecified “performance incentives.” Multiple members of the Columbus Crew press also confirmed the Amundsen deal shortly after Bogert’s initial report.
The $400,000 guaranteed for Amundsen were not the only GarberBucks acquired by NYCFC sporting director David Lee on Deadline Day. In a quintessentially MLS transaction, NYCFC also sold an international roster slot to LA Galaxy for $162,500 in 2024 GAM, just so the Galaxy could sign one of their SuperDraft selections.