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Official: New York Red Bulls sign Fidel Escobar

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The worst kept secret in the Red Bulls organization finally came to light.

Soccer: CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying-USA at Panama Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

The Red Bulls even got Escobar to give a shoutout to his new fans.

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.

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.