Washington, D.C., February 9, 2016 – D.C. United has acquired Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta on loan from legendary club Boca Juniors for the 2016 season. The 21-year-old playmaker is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Wednesday night to undergo a physical and to sign his loan deal. It’s reported that United has an option to buy Acosta after the loan expires at the end of the season.
The diminutive (5’2″) midfielder will add much-needed pace and playmaking ability to a United midfield that has been missing that element since Christian Gomez was traded to the Colorado Rapids in February of 2008. It is expected that Acosta will clear all international hurdles and be ready for selection when they start the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League against Querataro of Mexico two weeks from tonight.
United has depended on the gritty play of both Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud mainly for the past two seasons. And while that combination put United in good position in the league during that time, it was clear that that particular well had gone dry by the end of the 2015 MLS Season. Kitchen is no longer with United as his contract expired as he is expected to sign with a European team soon. Arnaud is rumored to be retiring after his attempt to come back was scuttled during the first week of preseason training due to his lingering concussion symptoms.
The addition of Acosta is a welcome sight for United fans as they have desperately craved someone, anyone, to help their attack from central midfield as it sputtered at the tail end of the 2015 campaign. While his size will work against him in a renowned physical league like MLS, his creativity, quickness and flat out straight-line speed will increase the tempo of United’s seemingly predictable attack pace.
Acosta played the 2013-14 season with the Argentine giants before going on loan with Estudiantes in 2015. His teammate at Estudiantes Leanardo Gil was United’s main target this offseason before he finally was pulled from consideration a week ago. United then turned their efforts towards Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino of AC Milan and what a storm that story brewed up. United submitted a Discovery Claim on Nocerino only to see Orlando City SC step in and offer a reported $900,000 a year deal (United reportedly has offered a $700,000 a year deal). Seeing as United were in negotiations with Nocerino, Orlando City clearing violated MLS’ tampering rules and will most likely have to pay United something substantial in return for the services of Nocerino.
It’s being reported that a trade between United and Orlando City is imminent to acquire Nocerino. While Nocerino would have been a nice addition to United’s midfield, the position seems rather stacked with the addition last week of Marcelo Sarvas as well as the drafting of Julian Buescher and Paul Clowes last month.
United head coach Ben Olsen stated that team is not finished on the international market and the team “has plenty of money” to acquire “one for sure, two possible” players in the very near future. In order to acquire Acosta this afternoon, United traded midfielder/forward Conor Doyle to the Colorado Rapids for a 2017 third-round pick. The move also frees up a spot to possibly sign English midfielder Rob Vincent from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The 25-year old has been with United since the beginning of preseason and has impressed Olsen and his coaching staff.
United will travel back to Florida this weekend to begin to ramp up training ahead of their match in Querataro on February 14th. United will play three matches down in Florida over the next two weeks starting with the Tampa Bay Rowdies (Feb 13th) and then playing the Philadelphia Union (Feb 17th) before wrapping up their trip against the Montreal Impact (Feb 20th).