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March 7, 2014
Luyindula, Rafinha could make deals with Red Bulls

The Red Bulls did not sign former New York defender Tyler Ruthven.
The Red Bulls did not sign former New York defender Tyler Ruthven.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Kristian R. Dyer Contributing Editor

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Decision time nears for the Red Bulls on several key players who could be joining the roster in the next few days, most notably former French international Péguy Luyindula.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday following the team’s training session at Montclair State University, head coach Mike Petke made it clear that more signings could be on the way for the club, particularly in the attack.

Luyindula, most recently of French powerhouse Paris Saint Germain, has been on trial with the Major League Soccer team throughout much of pre-season and has been making a case for a deal. Last week, Petke said he wanted to see the player fit before making a decision on the striker. Apparently, the 33-year-old Frenchman has gained the necessary fitness to make a better assessment possible.

On Wednesday, Luyindula looked a bit sharper than he did last week and displayed some nice touches in small-sided games and ran well into channels during the team scrimmage.

“We’re definitely close, we’re going have to make a decision shortly. He’s definitely improved, definitely has shown once he does get in shape, what he can bring,” Petke said. “It’s just about sitting down now and discussing what we need, what we can fit in and how he can fit into our game plan if we were to take him and go from there. But it shouldn’t take much longer.”

In addition, the future for Rafhael Domingues, known simply as Rafinha, appears bright. The midfielder has looked to be a solid spark for the Red Bulls and someone who likely could be settling in sooner rather than later.

“He’s a young kid who has a lot of potential and the price is absolutely right so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t bring him in,” Petke said.

Earlier this week, it appeared that defender Tyler Ruthven would return to New York for a second season but that wasn’t the case with the club deciding not to ink the solid role player. After spending pre-season with the Red Bulls, a deal seemed to be forthcoming and Ruthven even took to Twitter to announce that he was coming back.

It was a premature tweet, Petke said, as he gave the club’s explanation as to what went down. He said the Red Bulls could have signed him but with pending roster moves, that would mean eventually cutting him in a week or two.

“You know, Tyler’s someone that has been with us and we were planning on signing and then there’s X amount of players, Y amount of spots and Z amount of money. Things pop up all the time and that’s the reason why there’s things like semi-guaranteed contracts,” Petke said. “One thing I want to make clear: We never gave Tyler a contract in his hand like apparently he boasted on Twitter [that] ‘I’ve got a contract in hand.’ I think he said something like that and [that] basically we tore it up. That wasn’t the case.”
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