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Backe: Signed trialists provide Red Bulls more depth

Hans Backe and Erik Soler of the New York Red Bulls

Photo Credit: 
New York Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls continued to fill out their roster ahead of their 2012 season opener against FC Dallas, signing four trialists to the first team on Tuesday.

After spending much of the preseason with the Red Bulls, forwards Jose Angulo and Jhonny Arteaga, midfielder Brandon Barklage and defender Tyler Ruthven all agreed to deals with the club.

“They are solid guys that I would say have quite a lot of experience,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “[Barklage] has been in D.C. and the other guys in the USL; competitive games. They are in a better way prepared for MLS.”

Probably the most familiar name to Red Bulls fans is Angulo. The 24-year-old Colombian grew up in Clifton, N.J., and played for St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, where he was widely considered one of the best high school players in the country. He spent time with the New England Revolution in 2009, and most recently played for USL Pro club Harrisburg City Islanders.

Arteaga, another Colombian-born striker, is also a player local supporters might recognize. The 25-year-old Arteaga played for FC New York in USL Pro last season, and scored 13 times in 21 league matches to lead the league in 2011.

Barklage, 25, joins the Red Bulls after being drafted by D.C. United in 2009. During his three-year stay with United, he made three league starts and 11 appearances.

Ruthven, 23, spent last season with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. The defender played in 27 games and scored one goal in 2011.

“Comparing to last year, we have much better depth.” Backe said. “These guys are closer to getting MLS minutes than we had last year.”

By signing the foursome, the Red Bulls now have 24 players on their first team out of a possible 30. That roster size will increase to 25 if forward Luke Rodgers’ visa is approved on Friday.

New York open their 2012 campaign at FC Dallas on Sunday (3 pm ET, NBC Sports).

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.

GET TICKETS to FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls, Sunday, March 11, 2012, 3 pm ET at FC Dallas Stadium. Watch it on NBC Sports.