Kyle Duncan is a 20-year-old Red Bulls Academy graduate who signed his first pro deal in France with Valenciennes. The former US Youth National Teams defender is conventionally regarded as a right back, and has seen time on the field as a full-back with RBNY in this year’s preseason.
Signing Duncan to a first-team deal would appear to address the squad’s current depth issues at right back. Amir Murillo looks to be RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch’s first-choice to start on the right side of his back four (and even a back three, when that formation is preferred) for the moment. If Murillo falls out of favor, however, the present understanding of the depth chart would suggest that Tyler Adams might be the player asked to step into the right back role - and he looks likely to be required to start most games in the center of midfield, since it has been reported that Felipe Martins is leaving RBNY. Absent Murillo or Adams, Connor Lade is quite capable of playing right back, but he’s also the team’s primary back-up option at left back.
Murillo and fellow Panama international Fidel Escobar (also able to fill in at full back) are likely to be away for much of the summer with their national team; starting left-back Kemar Lawrence plays almost every game Jamaica schedules for its men’s national team; Tyler Adams looks increasingly like a regular for USMNT: there will very likely be some weeks this year when all four of those players are on national team duty and not available to RBNY. And injury can, of course, strike at any time.
So not a terrible idea for RBNY to invest in cover for the first-team’s full-back options. And Duncan is certainly a player who will be backing himself to compete for and win a starting role with the Red Bulls in due course.
Schnitzer’s report for the Post also contained the news that Amando Moreno will be cut from the first-team squad, apparently as a prelude to signing a contract with the Red Bulls II team in USL.
Moreno has a similar background to Duncan: RBNY Academy grad and USYNT prospect; tried his luck at a club abroad (Liga MX’s Tijuana, in his case); landed back with the Red Bulls this season somewhat unexpectedly. Unlike Duncan, Moreno is an attacking player. Clearly, RBNY would rather free up the roster or salary-cap space occupied by the versatile Moreno than keep him tied to the first team as cover for the forward positions.
Moreno has shown well in preseason to date with the II team, and if he does ultimately commit to a full season with the Red Bulls reserves, he’ll immediately become a good reason for RBNY fans to make their way to Montclair State University to watch the USL squad.
It is expected Duncan’s signing and Moreno’s release will be officially announced by RBNY shortly.