The Columbus Crew may have just found their replacement for departed center back Chad Marshall.
The Crew announced Friday that they have signed Costa Rican national team defender Giancarlo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old center back most recently played in Norway’s Tippeligaen for two seasons after spending 2008-2012 in Costa Rica’s Primera League. Gonzalez will be added to the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the signing were not disclosed.d
"Giancarlo is a very experienced, young and promising center back," sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “He has experience in Europe and international experience with the Costa Rican national team. He's been a solid starter all through FIFA World Cup qualifying for Costa Rica and we feel he is going to be a good addition to our team.
“He's dangerous on offensive set pieces and he's a good passer of the ball. He's good in 1-v-1 tackling and he has leadership qualities. He's proven that he can win with Alajuelense in Costa Rica and with the Costa Rica national team, so we like all of those qualities.”
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Gonzalez joins the Black & Gold from Vålerenga, where he made 27 appearances and scored three goals over one-and-a-half full seasons. In 2013, Gonzalez made 25 appearances – including 20 starts – and scored three goals in his second season in Norway.
Prior to his departure for Norway, Gonzalez played with Alajuelense of Costa Rica’s Primera División and made 57 regular-season appearances and scored six goals from 2009-2012 after joining the club for a portion of the club’s 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League run.
Internationally, Gonzalez has earned 31 total caps for Costa Rica dating back to his debut against Peru in a friendly on October 9, 2010. In total, Gonzalez has scored two goals for his country, including a tally in the May 2012 friendly against Guatemela and the game-winning goal to secure Costa Rica’s Copa Centroamericana 1-0 win over Honduras in January 2013. He started in both 2013 FIFA World Cup Qualifier matches against the United States in 2013.