A desire to increase the competition for places in central defense prompted the New England Revolution to invite José Gonçalves to train with the side last year.
The former Hearts and St. Gallen defender, 27, impressed enough during his brief spell in Foxborough to prompt the Revs to acquire his services on loan from Swiss side FC Sion on Thursday.
“He came and trained with us for a little bit in November,” general manager Mike Burns told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Thursday. “We liked what we saw. It took a little bit longer than we'd hoped to get the deal done with the player but, at the end of the day, we're glad we got it done. The bottom line is that we feel like he makes us a better team.”
Although Gonçalves has struggled to secure playing time during his stint with Sion (six matches in one-and-a-half seasons) and sidestep lingering injury concerns, he still offers a rugged and seasoned presence in the middle of the back four and supplements the options available to Revolution coach Jay Heaps.
“We feel like there is more competition for spots, both in the starting XI and in the 18,” Burns said. “That's the main reason why we pursued him and signed him.”
The former Portugal Under-21 international will vie for a place in the team with Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy and A.J. Soares. By injecting another proven option into the mix, the Revs have improved their defense and increased the competition for places, according to Burns.
“It gives us depth,” Burns said. “It certainly gives those four guys some competition in terms of who is going to play.”
Gonçalves will link up with his new teammates pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate and his P-1 work visa, according to a statement released by the club on Thursday. Burns said the Revs hope to have him available by the time training camp starts on Jan. 17.