Red Bulls Notes: Kaka’s brother Digão signs, internationals return and more

Digao (Getty)

By DAVE MARTINEZ

Team sources have informed SBI that the New York Red Bulls have signed 6-foot-4 defender Rodrigo “Digão” Leite – better known as the younger brother of Brazilian star Kaka.

Red Bulls coach Hans Backe told the media Thursday that the team planned to announce the signing of Digão or fellow trialist Nicki Patterson of the Charleston Battery by Friday. Digão, who has previously featured for AC Milan and a host of Portuguese and Italian teams over the past six years, has been trialing with the Red Bulls since late last week and is a free agent.

Repeated media requests have been denied as the 27-year-old centerback featured in the team’s training sessions. The Red Bulls are expected to release a statement later Friday confirming the defender’s signing.

The addition of Digão adds to a glut of centerbacks on the Red Bulls roster, including such names as Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce, Wilman Conde, Stephen Keel, Tyler Ruthven and Rafa Marquez. It also fuels this summer’s speculation connecting Kaka with the team as the former AC Milan star has repeatedly spoken about his desire to feature on a side with his brother over the years. 

Here are a few more notes from the Red Bulls:

INTERNATIONAL RETURNS

Historically, Hans Backe has bemoaned International call-ups. From his experience, the players usually come back fatigued and warn out from the stresses of competition.

This time seems to be a different story.

“I am surprised they are all so fresh,” Backe said. “Joel (Lindpere) and Tim (Cahill) came back, Roy (Miller) is injured, picked up a groin injury at Costa Rica in training. The way Tim and Joel played today, you can't definitely see they have been away for 8-to-10 days and travel. They were flying. Surprisingly good I must say.”

“I think for me, it's important that I keep myself fit,” Cahill revealed. “Professionally, even though I've been away for 10-to-12 days training hard and playing two games for my country, the travel and everything, I think it's important when I come back to train with the lads and that I come back in good shape and stay later and do extra work and tomorrow and make sure that I give myself every possible chance of being as fresh as I was when I left.”

Miller, who recently lost his starting left back position to Conde, will likely be out of action for two weeks. Fellow international Bill Gaudette returned to training early Monday and did not feature in Puerto Rico’s last match.

BACK LINE NOT SETTLED YET

Though Backe has repeatedly expressed his desire to feature an exclusive four-man line for the home stretch towards the playoffs, the quartet of Connor Lade, Holgersson, Pearce and Conde may not be the final formulation. Not with one of the players that Thierry Henry referred to as a key to the team's season, Brandon Barklage, on his way back from injury. 

“They played quite OK our back four,” Backe said. “Still, Brandon (Barklage) is coming back, doing well in every training session and picking up the fight.  Roy (Miller) is out now, but overall, there are five or six guys who can compete for these four positions.”

RED BULLS EXPECT DIFFERENT CREW

The Red Bulls are also highly aware that the coming home match against the Columbus Crew will not be a replay of their 4-1 victory in Ohio earlier this year – especially with the Crew's addition of Federico Higuain.

“They are different,” Backe said. “If you look at Higuain’s movement, he is more like a second striker. He definitely gives Columbus possession, perhaps not too many final passes even if he has probably six assists, but he gives them possession in the last third in the attacking game. He is a very clever player.”

The Red Bulls, who could be as low as fourth place in the East after Sporting Kansas City and Houston play Friday night, lead the Crew by just four points through 27 matches

“If you look at the standings you have probably at least six teams going for five spots," Backe said. "Every time you play at home, you play these kind of teams that are three, four points behind. You need to pick up results. It’s a big week for us. We play three games. Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, two home games and we’ve been unbeaten. You hope you can stay like that and perform and pick up wins at home.”

This entry was posted in MLS- New York Red Bulls. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Red Bulls Notes: Kaka’s brother Digão signs, internationals return and more

  1. TomG says:

    I’ve never seen this guy play, so it’s disturbing that the first picture I see of him makes him look like Lennie from Of Mice and Men. Very unfortunate.

  2. Gnarls says:

    MLS is losing its reputation as Europe’s retirement league; only to fill the role of “That famous striker’s brother’s league” (Kaka, Higuain, ex-Rooney).

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    Houston also drafted Euan Holden, the less-known fullback brother of Stuart, who instead currently plays in the Conference National.

  4. Gnarls says:

    Right! Forgot about him.

    I wonder what’s the appeal of playing in England’s fifth tier, other than the potential of promotion and exposure to bigger clubs?

  5. MLSsnob says:

    John Steinbeck would be proud…

  6. bottlcaps says:

    I think Euab wanted to be closer to Stuart, especially after the spate of injuries to Holden major and helping him in his recovery,

  7. John says:

    I love when people refer to the MLS as a retirement league. Every league in the world, other than the “big 4″ are stepping stone leagues (on the way up), and retirement leagues (on the way down). Soccer isn’t the NFL,where you play in college, and then you go to the NFL. There are leagues all over the world. As you progress you move through those leagues, with the hope of making it to the big boys in Europe. And then, on your way down, you do the same thing, and start moving back to the smaller clubs/leagues. When guys leave Europe to play in china or Egypt, it’s the same thing. The MLS is never going to be The Premiere league or La Liga.

  8. Gnarls says:

    Yeah, all that stuff.

    For the record, I’m a huge MLS fan. I didn’t say the reputation was deserved, but it has a reputation overseas as a retirement league. Hell, Djibril Cissé just confirmed that yesterday. I was making a joke about the brothers of famous dudes entering our league.

  9. elmatador says:

    I heard Messi has a brother also, maybe he’ll sign for San Jose as they try to make a deep playoff run

  10. 2tone says:

    It is what it is. This signing was made to get KaKa to NY in either the january trnasger period or the summer.

  11. T-moble says:

    Never, I dont now about never. I think as TV deals get better, MLS will really compete with the BPL, all the BPL does anyway is buy players.

  12. Helium-3 says:

    Well I remember Maradona’s younger(?) bro, Hugo or Lalo played in the old A-League before MLS started. I think it was with Toronto Lynx, and if I remember correctly, Onstad and DeRo played on the same team.

  13. MattJack says:

    too bad Ricky is gonna be in LA.

  14. DJ777 says:

    I’m guessing by New York signing KaKa’s brother means that Marquez is on his way out (soon)

  15. The Imperative Voice says:

    Both Stuart and Euan were born in Aberdeen, and Stuart notably, while raised in Houston and educated for a year or so at Clemson, then went over to Sunderland before suffering injuries and coming back to the Dynamo to reboot (and perhaps help take care of his ill father).

    So there’s some history in the family of being from abroad and heading out abroad to play. Euan has supposedly even been looked at by Scotland, though who knows how hard. Ironically the Dynamo might be the outlier that throws us, and the reality on that is Stuart had hurt his leg and then his face during his Sunderland reserves stint and arguably used MLS to start over. If he’d succeeded at Sunderland, would he have come back, ever? Would he be playing for the US? Would there have been a tug of war with Scotland?

    Beyond that history, it looks like Euan barely played at his two Danish clubs so maybe he’s trying to find somewhere he can play without making the Walk of Shame back home (unlike, say, Tracy….some people just man up and come home, give it a shot here).

    Might also factor in that Stockport is near Manchester/ Bolton, he might be staying with his brother and/or near there, in which case maybe Stockport just fit well.

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    It’s an unfair slap necause this is not the Qatar league, the talent and play level is pretty high and broadly spread, and if the guys in walkers show up unfit and not ready to play they get their heads handed to them.

    It’s also unfair, we have salary caps and rules, and if I want to bring in a foreigner, I can err on the side of obscurer and cheaper but perhaps nominally riskier “because I didn’t buy the brand name,” or I can buy the brand name, who I can only afford at age 30+, and hope he’s got gas left in the tank. We’re not buying people for junkets, like I said, if that’s the plan they’ll get creamed. But within a budget I can only afford them as they near retirement age. But if they show up and play retired, depending on ticket sales, it was a waste.

    Which is why I’m a bigger fan of “more obscure,” eg, Boniek Garcia. Either that or chase people with an American connection that might push them this way earlier than usual. I’d also like to see some Americano-phile with an established rep just take the risk and come here for a paycut just to play in the US in their 20s. Do a two year deal, maybe at the start of a new World Cup cycle where they don’t feel like they’re risking as much, and convince someone that for a nominal pay cut they can line up endorsements and such and make them the face of the league. Or you can go to England and be another guy on Man City or Chelsea…..

    Landon used to have that role implicitly in a domestic way.

  17. ViC El Paso Texas says:

    Marquez wil be send to another MLS team or go to the Mexican league with Atlas but I think he stays with a low salary. MLS needs 4dps per team and higher salary so teams can bring drogba, anelka, ronaldinho, raul, trezegue, ballack, owen, kaka, and many more. If players go to Russia, Asian teams, why not MLS. I also got a question for Sounders fans, I read Seattle is gonna build an arena…. WTF. In what land, downtown or college ground but in reality sounders fans deserve their SSS before an arena for basketball or hockey.At the end I picture Owen in seattle and kaka in NY, i dont thimk Ronaldinho comes to Galaxy.

  18. fakeU says:

    Juat!!

    Anelka is finished. Ronaldinho is fat. Raul will disappear in Qatar. Trezeguet loves Argentina and will stay there. Ballack – puh-leez. Owen will play in the lower tiers of English football before coming here.

    I sincerely don’t see Kaka coming here, and if he does, he’ll pop in at 35 or 36. It’s easy to say that you wanna come here, like Wesley Sneijder did a few days ago, but how serious can we be as long as the salary cap is that tight?

    Hopefully, TV deals and sponsorship grows rapidly. We need to make a play within 2-5 years to get the world’s best…..or at least, the decent ones.

  19. JoeMormon says:

    Raise the salary cap. Instead of spending 5 Mil on one player, spend 5 mill on 11 players. 11 good players is better than 1 great player.

    RSL!

  20. JoeMormon says:

    OR, have a “designated team” option or spit the costs of one designated player over a number of players.

  21. shake says:

    Rather have them just make it so anyone who makes less than 150K counts as a minimum wage player on the books. This would allow teams to get better core players, and save allocation money for the big names.

  22. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    From everything I read Digao is not a very good player. NYRB is probably signing him for two reasons:
    1. To get Kaka in the winter or next summer
    2. To make Rafa look better

  23. Paula says:

    (Kinda feel bad for laughing at this.)

  24. US Soccer says:

    I think this guy replaces the slow Holgersson to form a formidable backline with depth.

    The Toros are going for titles

  25. Gus says:

    It’s about money and the right fit for a team….not leagues

  26. Juan says:

    no way…Lampard will be LA’s 4th DP

  27. Gnarls says:

    “Designated team”? In other words, get rid of the salary cap.