Nick de Santis, Montreal Impact

Montreal Impact say imminent signing of forward Santiago Gonzalez will fall under Special Discovery

MONTREAL – Uruguayan forward Santiago González will not fill the Montreal Impact’s third and final Designated Player spot when he signs.

González, who was at Impact training on Thursday but did not take part in the session or address the media, will be a Special Discovery signing when the Impact officialize the deal, Montreal sporting director Nick De Santis told reporters on Thursday. González will travel with the team to Florida in the meantime, and De Santis is hopeful that the deal can materialize in the coming days.

The little-known Special Discovery rule is not a new one, said De Santis, who cited Real Salt Lake’s acquisition of Olmes García in 2013 as an example of its application.

“It means that the league acquires a young player and that the contract is amortized [over several seasons] so the player’s cap hit reaches between $125,000 and $150,000, give or take,” De Santis told reporters. “That helps the team a lot. Those are young players with experience.”

When reached for clarification regarding the Special Discovery rule, an MLS spokesperson declined to comment, while Real Salt Lake had not yet clarified whether García was indeed acquired through the mechanism.

González, 21, had been playing with Sud América in the Uruguayan first division. A second-division champion with the club last term, he scored five goals in 14 games in his first season in the top flight.

Head coach Frank Klopas confirmed last week that the club was negotiating with González. At the time, rumors of his signing as a young Designated Player swirled around.

González not requiring the DP tag would ensure that Montreal retain the required breathing space to sign a third Designated Player in the summer. Filling the only vacant slot might have forced the club's hand regarding DP midfielder Hernán Bernardello, whose contract expires this summer but includes an option for two-and-a-half more seasons.

Candidates for the third DP spot do not include Valencia’s 24-year old winger Pablo Piatti or Lazio’s 34-year-old midfielder Stefano Mauri. De Santis ruled out moves for both players, pointing out that he’s had no contact whatsoever with either player's camp.