The San Jose Earthquakes scored just 32 goals in 2016, the fewest of any team in MLS. On Friday, the club made a move to address that issue.
"We don't just look at a player's merits or international appearances," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a release. "We focus more on the player's skill-set to understand whether or not they match what the team needs. Marco is a very attack-minded player that will be a very important element in binding our midfield and attack. He has great technique and can make many key passes while covering a lot of ground. I think he's going to be an exciting player for us."
Urena, 26, has represented Costa Rica at the U-17, U-20 and senior team levels. Since making his senior international debut at 19 years old in 2009, he has tallied 10 goals and three assists in 45 appearances. He also played in four of the team's five matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and scored one minute into his appearance off the bench in a 3-1 win over Uruguay. He played a critical role in the team reaching the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament, before falling to the Netherlands in penalty kicks.
He comes to San Jose after six months with Brondby IF of the top-flight Danish Alka Superligaen, where he appeared in 16 matches, including a pair of Europa League qualifiers. Brondby currently ranks second in the Danish Superliga with a 12-3-6 record.
Urena began his career with LD Alajuelense of the Costa Rican's first division at just 17 years old. During his four years with the team, he tallied nine goals and two assists and helped lead his club to the league championship in both the winter and summer sessions of the 2010-11 season.
The San Jose, Costa Rica native then moved to Russian side Kuban Krasnodar just days before his 21st birthday. He tallied two assists in 36 appearances for the club, before joining FC Midtjylland of Denmark on loan in August of 2014. Urena then agreed to move permanently to the club upon the expiration of his loan in December of 2014. With FC Midtjylland, he tallied six goals and six assists in 38 appearances and helped the side win the Superliga with a 22-6-5 record. He later moved to Brondby in July of 2016.
"I think he's going to be a good addition to the team," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "He's a Costa Rican international, who's played in some big tournaments. We brought him here to score goals and help us win and that's what we expect of him."