The newest member of the New York Red Bulls family is defender Fidel Escobar.
On Thursday the Red Bulls made official that Escobar had been signed to an 18-month loan deal with an option to purchase at the end of 2018.
NEWS: @NewYorkRedBulls Add Panama International Fidel Escobar on Loan— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) July 27, 2017
➡️ https://t.co/4CI25heitG#RBNY pic.twitter.com/qZz1VVPv5D
Escobar joins the team from Sporting San Miguelito following a 2016-17 campaign on loan to the reserve side of Portuguese giants Sporting CP.
He will wear No. 29 for the team this season.
Fidel Escobar will wear No. 2️⃣9️⃣ with #RBNY pic.twitter.com/WZ1VYMlbo2— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) July 27, 2017
The Red Bulls even got Escobar to give a shoutout to his new fans.
Fidel Escobar's message for #RBNY fans! pic.twitter.com/ZuGEJXYOcx— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) July 27, 2017
The Red Bulls have technically been sitting on this signing for nearly a week, but were finally able to get the deal done once Escobar’s ITC paperwork was approved.
Sporting S.M. had spoiled the surprise for everyone earlier in the week when they announced that Escobar had been sent to the Red Bulls.
Nuestro #Rojinegro Fidel Escobar pasa a ser jugador del @newyorkredbulls— Sporting SM F.C. (@sportingsm) July 24, 2017
Firma por año y medio con opción a compra.#RojinegrosPorElMundo pic.twitter.com/KX6lcRRUmv
Escobar was one of the standout players for Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and caught the attention of RBNY sporting director Denis Hamlett, per the Thursday press release.
Los Canaleros allowed just two goals in the Group Stage before being knocked out by Costa Rica 1-0 in the Quarter-Finals. Escobar and Red Bulls defender Michael Amir Murillo were two of the team’s most successful defenders during their four-game run.
Escobar is listed as a center back, a position of serious need for the Red Bulls given their lack of depth since losing Gideon Baah for the season and Aurelien Collin’s continuing struggles with injury.
It is doubtful that he will be given the start for the team on Saturday, July 29, against Montreal, but he could conceivably be match-ready for the August 6 road trip to NYC FC.