Jesse Marsch on Dilly Duka (above): Overall, I think it’s been very positive with him.” (Courtesy of MLS)
HANOVER, N.J. — So far so good for Dilly Duka on his trial with the Red Bulls, who haven’t decided on whether they will sign the Montville, N.J. native.
The former Columbus Crew midfielder has been training with the Red Bulls for the past week. The 27-year-old Duka has impressed head coach Jesse Marsch and his coaching staff. They want to see whether he can adapt to the team’s pressing style.
“I think Dilly’s done well,” Marsch told reporters earlier this week at the Red Bulls’ Training Facility. “Any time people come here, it’s an adjust to some of the training methods and the way we do things. But I think Dilly’s been excited to be here and he knows some of the guys from the past. Overall, I think it’s been very positive with him. We’re not ready to make a decision yet, but so far, so good.”
Duka’s Major League Soccer contract with the Crew had him earning a guaranteed salary of $175,000. So, signing the 5-9, 160-lb Duka would be a low-risk, high-reward situation for the Red Bulls.
“I think that’s the main issue,” Marsch said, who then added: “Can we help him adjust to playing against the ball? And then can we use some of his abilities 1 v 1 and some of his attacking talents to help the team? So, we’re still kind of in the evaluation process with him.”
Duka, who has played in MLS with the Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact and the Crew since 2010, has made 95 starts over 138 matches, scoring 12 goals and assisting on 14 others.
Red Bulls injury updates
Marsch is hoping for center back Aurelien Collin and defender-midfielder Connor Lade to return soon.
“Aurelien is day to day,” he said, adding that both players were scheduled with Red Bulls II Thursday and return to training Friday. “Then hopefully they can come into training with the first team.”
New-signing and forward Muhamed Keita “has picked up something, but not much,” Marsch said.
“We’re being a little cautious with him,” he added. “Last year we brought Danny Royer in, then we pushed him and he wound up getting a hamstring injury and ended up being hurt. So, we’re being cautious with him so that in the long term we are setting him up to being healthy.”