The New York Red Bulls' summer shopping spree may not be over. The MLS squad has recently received Shaun Wright-Phillips, and is expected to gain San Lorenzo's Gonzalo Veron: two versatile attacking players, basically. But reports out of RBNY's training session on Thursday July 30 noted the presence of another new face: Santiago Dittborn.
Jesse Marsch's response to inquiries about the new player was perhaps telling:
Chilean midfielder Santiago Dittborn trained with #RBNY this afternoon. "He's here for fitness," Marsch said with a laugh.— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) July 30, 2015
At least he's not asking us to take that line seriously any more. We all know what it means: SWP was kicking around the training facility "for fitness" for weeks prior to his signing.
Dittborn is on trial, as plainly stated by Kristian Dyer's report for Big Apple Soccer.
The idea the player needs fitness work is put under particular strain with the knowledge that he was training with Philadelphia Union earlier in July. It would appear the Union's signing of Tranquillo Barnetta rendered Dittborn surplus to requirements, and he's bounced over to RBNY for another tryout. Because Dittborn doesn't need to get fit, he needs a job.
The 22-year-old Chilean midfielder is a free agent, having been released by Universidad Catolica in June. He had a promising start to his career with UC, contributing to the club's 2011 Copa Chile title. But subsequently the former youth international (he represented Chile in the 2009 Campeanato Sudamericano Sub-17 tournament) was loaned out (first to Cobreloa in 2013, subsequently to San Marcos de Arica in the 2014-15 season) to other top-flight clubs, without really catching on at any of them.
So now he is looking for a chance to impress in MLS.
He is left-footed, perhaps to a fault:
Watching highlights of Santiago Dittborn, kid is so left-footed that I'm genuinely interested if he can drive a car.— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) July 8, 2015
But that foot has some power in it:
Kid's got a rocket of a left foot. Spent time at the end of practice ripping shots past Robles and co. #RBNY— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) July 30, 2015
The Union seemed to like what they saw of him, though not enough to sign him. But perhaps RBNY is in the market for a young midfielder with a cannon shot.