The Sporting Kansas City scouting routine is often preemptive in nature. It’s essentially the process of collecting a just-in-case list of players across nearly a dozen international leagues.
The club pulled from its list Tuesday, when it officially announced that 22-year-old Chilean striker Diego Rubio Köstner has joined the roster as a young designated player.
The addition comes via loan from Spanish-club Real Valladolid, and it is pending the receipt of Rubio’s international transfer certificate and his P-1 visa.
Rubio will slot in as scoring depth behind Dom Dwyer, a necessary backup option after the unexpected offseason departure of Krisztian Nemeth.
“We wanted to add a forward to our roster. As tough and durable as Dom is, we have to get him his moments where he gets rest,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “The great thing about Diego is he has a very similar frame that Dom has. He has a little bit of similar qualities to him.”
As a young designated player, Rubio will count $200,000 toward the salary cap, even if his salary exceeds that figure.
The loan expires June 30, at which time Sporting KC will have the option to turn it into a more lengthy purchase.
Rubio arrived in Kansas City on Monday, his first trip to the United States.
“When they said they wanted me, I was really happy to come here to a big club in the United States,” Rubio said, later adding, “I heard it’s one of the biggest clubs here in the U.S. They have big fans. They have a fantastic stadium. They have everything.”
The process of integrating Rubio into the “Sporting Fit” system could require three to four weeks, Vermes estimated. Rubio’s professional career already includes stops at six previous clubs. While on loan with Sporting Clube de Portugal’s reserve team, he scored 22 goals in 52 appearances.
“He’s explosive. He’s got a very good pace. He has pretty soft feet. And he has a real hunger and aggressiveness to score goals,” Vermes said