Minnesota United may have started the roster-building process slowly, but the 2017 MLS expansion club is making up for lost time as the January transfer window approaches.
On Tuesday, Minnesota announced the signing of defender Francisco Calvo using Targeted Allocation Money from Costa Rican powerhouse Saprissa. Calvo will be added to Minnesota's roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
The 24-year-old Costa Rican international can play left back or centerback and is an accomplished set-piece threat despite standing 5-foot-11. Calvo scored nine goals in 24 league games for Saprissa during the Primera División winter season, which runs from July through December.
“You can’t be anything but impressed with Calvo and the way he has been playing recently,” head coach Adrian Heath said in a statement. “He is a mainstay in the Costa Rican national team and has excelled as a player with Saprissa. Today we added another really quality piece to a growing roster.”
Calvo has 17 caps for Los Ticos, and was a starter in recent Hexagonal victories against Trinidad & Tobago and Panama as well as Copa America Centenario matches against Colombia and the United States this summer.
He is the fourth defender signed by MNUFC, joining Justin Davis, Kevin Venegas and Joseph Greenspan at the club, and the second Costa Rican following Johan Venegas in Minnesota. Venegas arrived via trade following the Expansion Draft, coming over from the Montreal Impact in exchange for former Red Bulls’ defender Chris Duvall.
“The great thing about Francisco is that he can play virtually anywhere in the back four, he’s an incredibly intelligent footballer,” Heath said. “He has a lot of versatility and his best years are ahead of him.”