D.C. United announced today the signing of Brazilan striker Rafael to a Young Designated Player contract. Rafeal, a 20-year-old forward, will be a season long loan signing from Bahia in Brazil and will most likely cost United between $150,00-$200,000 on their salary cap.
Rafael will join compatriots Marcelo Saragosa and Raphael Augusto (in negotiations to extend his loan from last season) in Washington, D.C. as the club begins preseason training on Thursday, January 17th.
Rafael is a 6’0 180lbs striker that will compete with incumbents Lionard Pajoy, Long Tan and Dwayne De Rosario for playing time. Hamdi Salihi, United’s full Designated Player signing from a season ago is currently not in favor after starting only 10 matches last season (6 goals) and is currently looking at moving back to Europe.
“If you had told me I would start with Pajoy this year, I would be okay with that. Adding this now, it is another very good option to compete. We’ll see. I am not going to put crazy demands on this guy. We’ve got firepower. We’ve scored goals [fourth most in the league last year]. … This guy physically fits in our league, but he is 20. He is our guy. We’re not actively looking for any other [strikers]. I like our team. I like who we are. We wanted to add one or two pieces to make us better, and I think we have done it,” head coach Ben Olsen said after the press conference.