By DAVE MARTINEZ
The New York Red Bulls put the finishing touches on their roster ahead of this Sunday’s season opener against FC Dallas, adding four trialists to the first team.
Jose Angulo, Jhonny Arteaga, Brandon Barklage and Tyler Ruthven were all signed to MLS contracts after impressing the team during pre-season.
After a long journey, Clifton, N.J., native Angulo has returned home to join the Red Bulls. For many local soccer fans, Angulo’s name may be a familiar one; the Colombian native was a highly-touted prospect with St. Benedict's Prep School and a former All-American.
Angulo decided to forgo college to pursue his chances as a professional footballer domestically and overseas. After failing to land a contract in Europe, and after a brief stint with the New England Revolution, the 24-year-old striker toiled in the Premier Development League before finding a home with the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Pro League. There, he was able to regain his form, featuring in 26 matches while putting away nine goals.
Joining Angulo is fellow Colombian forward Arteaga. The 2011 USL Pro goal scoring leader was a lone bright spot during a difficult inaugural season for FC New York (now of the NPSL). Starting the season on the bench for the team, Arteaga fought his way on to the first team squad, making 21 appearances for the club, and scoring a massive 13 goals (16 in all competitions). Arteaga featured for FCNY last season during the US Open Cup when the team faced the Red Bulls in Harrison.
Rounding up the signed trialists are Barklage and Ruthven. Barklage, 25, was the 36th overall draft pick for D.C. United in 2009. Prior to that, he played for the Chicago Fire PDL side during his college years. The oft-injured midfielder made all of four late-game appearances for DC United last season before being cut by the team.
Ruthven, 23, is a defender who most recently featured with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. The young American centerback was a regular starter for the bottom dwelling Atlanta side throughout a painful season that saw the team compile a 4-20-4 record.
With these signings, New York now fields 24 out of a possible 30 available slots for the coming year.