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New York Red Bulls sign Evan Louro to MLS contract

What's that? Yes, he's been signed to the first team before - quite recently, as it happens.

USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls have given Evan Louro the rare - perhaps, unprecedented - distinction of being signed by the team twice in one season. Three times, if you count New York Red Bulls II as part of the same organization.

Goalkeeper Louro was first signed to a Homegrown contract with the RBNY MLS squad on January 23, 2017. He was a first-teamer for a little over a month - and was released from his contract on March 6, 2017. On March 22, he was signed to NYRB II, the Red Bulls' USL team.

And on April 29, RBNY announced it had signed Louro to a Homegrown contract with the RBNY MLS squad - for the second time about three months.

Louro's signing fills an obvious gap on the first team roster: it had only two goalkeepers under contract, and most teams will try to have three 'keepers in a squad to ensure adequate cover for depth or loss of form. Of course, for about six weeks earlier this year, RBNY technically had four 'keepers on its MLS roster: starter Luis Robles, back-up Ryan Meara, Louro and Rafa Diaz.

Diaz followed Louro out of the first team to the II team, as the Red Bulls apparently decided they could get by with just two 'keepers on their MLS roster. At the time, it looked as though the two junior goalkeepers would compete for starts in USL, with one presumably recommending himself to the third spot on the roster in due course, and when required.

Louro has started four of NYRB II's five league game so far this season, though that is at least in part because of an injury to Diaz (who was the opening-day starter for the II team). The obvious question raised by Louro's signing is not "why?" - that can be explained by the fact RBNY was short a third 'keeper on the MLS squad - but "why now?", since the Red Bulls decided to split their 'keepers between USL and MLS contracts almost two months ago.

For now, it is perhaps best to assume RBNY simply decided it was time to get a third 'keeper under contract on the MLS roster. And if that was a decision that needed a little more evidence to support it, maybe the experience of watching Louro and Diaz (mostly Louro, since Diaz has been injured) in USL has helped a choice to be made. Maybe the decision to sign Louro now is related to more immediate matters, such as the fact RBNY will play three league games in eight days from April 29 to May 6. Or maybe it's not.

Whether there is an immediate need for another 'keeper or not, a stretch of three games in a week is a sensible moment in the season to maximize depth on the roster.