My Once a Metro colleague Dan Ferris wrote only yesterday about the number of openings left to be filled on the New York Red Bulls roster. There's one fewer opening as of this morning, after the club announced the signing of Jonathan Borrajo, an American right back from Clifton, New Jersey who most recently played for Hamarkameratene (or "Ham-Kam") in the Norwegian second division. He appeared briefly for the Red Bulls' reserve squad toward the tail end of the 2010 season, scoring a goal against D.C. United reserves in a 2-2 away draw in November.
Borrajo was a star player at Clifton High School before spending his college years at George Mason University, where he captained the soccer team for three seasons. After a year and a half at Real Maryland Monarchs, who were then part of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division, Borrajo made the jump to Ham-Kam. His new club gained promotion to Norway's second tier in 2010, but fell short of promotion to the top flight in 2011, finishing sixth in the table. Borrajo decided to reject a contract extension from Ham-Kam, opting instead to try his luck back home.
You can get a sense of Borrajo's skills in this YouTube video. Though Erik Solér talks optimistically in the team's news release about Borrajo competing for a starting right back spot, that would seem unlikely, unless Hans Backe envisions moving Jan Gunnar Solli up to the right side of midfield to share time with Dane Richards. (There's always the possibility, of course, that a move might be in the works involving Richards, one of RBNY's few assets with real MLS trade value.) In any case, the addition of Borrajo gives the Red Bulls a host of options at right fullback - Solli, Borrajo, the Norwegian defender Markus Holgersson (whose signing has yet to be confirmed) and young Connor Lade.
It's always good to see a local kid come home. And even though Borrajo's impact is likely to be minimal, the Red Bulls braintrust seems to have done a good job of identifying their areas of weakness and starting to address them within the MLS budget constraints. There are still a few questions to be asked about the goalkeeper, attacking midfield and left fullback positions. If Solér and Backe can shore things up in those areas while keeping the assets they have, the red Bulls should have a deeper squad going into the 2012 season. Whether Hans Backe will actually use that depth is anyone's guess.