The New York Red Bulls have officially announced the signing of free agent and New Jersey native Dilly Duka through the end of 2017. This comes after the dust settled on an eventful MLS transfer deadline. Duka has been available since July after being released by Columbus Crew SC.
New York Red Bulls Sign Winger Dilly Duka
Duka is a Red Bulls Academy product and has bounced around MLS, including stints with the Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire. He was drafted by Columbus in 2010, and returned to the team in 2016.
Prior to his release from Crew SC, it was well known that Duka was unhappy with a lack of playing time. Tensions between the player and coach Gregg Berhalter ultimately led to Duka’s departure from the team. Reports at the end of July stated that Duka was training with the Red Bulls, and Jesse Marsch later confirmed it was more of a trial than casual training. Weeks later, the Red Bulls staff are pleased with what they have seen from the Montville, NJ man.
NEWS: @NewYorkRedBulls Sign Midfielder Dilly Duka
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) August 10, 2017
Where will he fit in?
Adding Duka to the midfielder depth chart makes perfect sense at this time for the club. Daniel Royer will be out for at least a couple of weeks after suffering a hyper-extended knee. New signing Muhamed Keita suffered a knock in training and is not yet fit. Tyler Adams has been used as a right wing back instead of a true midfielder for over a month. Finally, Gonzalo Veron now plays as a striker when he comes on.
With the Red Bulls fighting to maintain their playoff position along with pursuing the US Open Cup, they will need more depth which is what Dilly brings.
He can play on the left or the right, and Marsch has noted his quality in the attack-
“‘We also use some of his abilities 1 v. 1 and some of his attacking abilities to help the team.’”
One final note. Adding Duka is financially opportunistic for RBNY. Crew SC, having released the player, is still responsible for his salary. In this case, the Red Bulls need not open their wallets for a promising addition to the 2017 Red Bulls campaign.
Whenever Duka is made available for selection, look for him to come off the bench. His pace and skill in the second half can put the oppositions defense on their heels.
Photo credit: Columbus Crew SC Communications