Sporting Kansas City acquired Chilean striker Diego Rubio on a loan as a Young Designated Player on March 8, 2016. Rubio recorded 37 goals and 15 assists during a five-stint professional career in South America and Europe. The forward joins Sporting Kansas City from Real Valladolid of the Spanish Segunda Division, where he made 14 appearances during the 2015-16 season.
Rubio completed his permanent transfer to Sporting KC in September and became the first player to score in MLS, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League in the same season. He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee on Oct. 14 and missed the remainder of the 2016 season. In 2017, Rubio bagged seven goals across 20 competitive appearances to help Sporting KC lift the U.S. Open Cup title and reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for a seventh straight year. He enjoyed a strong 2018 campaign with 10 goals in all competitions, including two in the playoffs, and led MLS with five goals as a substitute.
2018: MLS regular season: Started nine of 20 appearances, recording eight goals and six assists (781 minutes played). Came off the bench to score a dramatic 91st-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw at the Colorado Rapids on March 24. Came off the bench to score the final goal in a 4-1 win over Minnesota United FC on June 3. Came off the bench to score the equalizing goal in the 85th minute of a 3-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo on June 23, finding the back of the net just 23 seconds into his substitute appearance, before assisting Khiry-Shelton's game-winner in the 88th minute. Assisted Johnny Russell's 100th professional goal in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on July 7. Assisted Gerso Fernandes' brilliant goal in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas on July 28. Came off the bench to score a 74th-minute game-winner in a 1-0 victory at the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 4. Assisted Gerso Fernandes' game-winning goal in a 2-0 victory at LAFC on Aug. 11. Scored two excellent goals in a 3-0 win over Portland on Aug. 18, striking in the 28th and 37th minutes for his second career MLS brace. Assisted Yohan Croizet's opener and scored the second in a 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC on Aug. 25. Scored in the second minute of a 3-1 loss at Seattle Sounders FC, recording a goal or an assist for the seventh straight regular-season game to set an all-time Sporting KC record. Assisted Gerso Fernandes' late goal in a 5-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 15, recording a goal or an assist for the eighth straight regular-season game to extend his Sporting KC club record. Open Cup: Started and played 65 minutes in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Round of 16 on June 16. Started and played 71 minutes in a 4-2 quarterfinal loss at the Houston Dynamo on July 18. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started two of three appearances, scoring two goals with one assist (168 minutes played). Entered in the 60th minute of a 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake in the conference semifinal first leg on Nov. 4, scoring the equalizing goal just 38 seconds after his introduction. Started and played 68 minutes in a 4-2 conference semifinal second-leg win over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 11, scoring the first goal of the match. Started and played 70 minutes in a 3-2 conference championship second-leg loss to Portland on Nov. 29, assisting Daniel Salloi's opening goal in the first half.
2017: MLS regular season: Started 11 of 16 appearances, recording six goals and two assists (1010 minutes played). Made his 2017 debut in a 0-0 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes on June 17, recording his first appearance since suffering a torn ACL in October 2016. Scored first goal of the season with a gorgeous strike against Philadelphia Union on July 6. Tallied his first career MLS assist in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire on July 29. Scored an excellent volley in a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Aug. 19. Scored a brace in a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution on Sept. 16, his first multi-goal performance in MLS. Assisted Daniel Salloi's goal before scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy on Sept. 24. Scored the go-ahead goal in a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC on Oct. 7. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-0 quarterfinal win against FC Dallas on July 11. Started and played 120 minutes in a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time on Aug. 9, scoring the equalizer in the 32nd minute before converting his penalty in the shootout. Started and played 82 minutes in a 2-1 Open Cup Final victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 120 minutes in a 1-0 extra-time loss at the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 26.
2016: Started seven of 20 appearances in all competitions, recording three goals and one assist. MLS regular season: Started three of 15 appearances (330 minutes played). Made his Sporting KC debut in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on April 2, drawing the penalty kick that was subsequently converted by Benny Feilhaber. Earned his first start on April 13 against the Colorado Rapids. Scored his first MLS goal in a 1-1 draw at Vancouver on April 27. Open Cup: Started one of two appearances (86 minutes played), recording one goal and one assist. Played 15 minutes as a late substitute in a 2-1 extra time win over Minnesota United FC on June 15, scoring the game-winning goal in the 109th minute. Started and played 71 minutes, assisting Brad Davis' goal, in a 3-1 fifth round loss at the Houston Dynamo on June 29. CONCACAF Champions League: Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw at Central FC on Aug. 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Aug. 23. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Vancouver on Sept. 13, scoring a goal in the 55th minute.
A native of Santiago, Chile, Rubio played for 18-time Primeira Liga champion Sporting Clube de Portugal from 2011-2015, scoring 22 goals in 52 games for the club’s reserve team Sporting B. He also made 20 senior team appearances, including six in the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League as he helped the club advance to the tournament semifinals.
During his time at Sporting, Rubio was loaned to Romanian side Pandurii Targu Jiu in 2013 and Norwegian club Sandnes Ulf in 2014, where he led the team with eight goals in the top-flight Tippeligaen. He returned to Portugal for the 2014-15 campaign, finishing seventh in the Segunda Liga with 14 goals as Sporting B fell four points short of the second division title.
After climbing the youth ranks at his hometown club Colo-Colo, Rubio made his senior team debut aged 17 in February 2011. He notched six goals in 10 matches for Colo-Colo — three in the Chilean Primera Division and three in the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier international club competition. He scored his first professional goal in the group stage of the prestigious tournament against eventual champion Santos FC of Brazil. Less than two weeks after receiving his first cap for Chile, Rubio was transferred to Sporting in July 2011.
INTERNATIONAL (4 caps)
Rubio has earned four caps for the Chile Men’s National Team since debuting at age 18 in a friendly against Paraguay in June 2011. He appeared in two additional friendlies against France and Mexico later that year before playing eight matches at the U-20 level in 2012 and 2013, including three starts at the 2013 South American Youth Football Championship. With Sporting KC: Rubio started and played 57 minutes for Chile in a 0-0 friendly draw against South Korea on Sept. 11, 2018. The occasion marked a momentous breakthrough for Rubio, who made his first senior international appearance for Chile since September 2011 and collected his fourth cap overall.