TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Returning
The Portland Timbers are getting the band back together, in a way.
A day after announcing the return of defender Jorge Villafaña, the Timbers announced on Thursday they have brought back forward fellow 2015 MLS Cup winner Lucas Melano following two seasons on loan. The move was reported earlier in the week by MLSsoccer.com national writer Sam Stejskal.
“Despite numerous options in South America and Europe, Lucas showed a strong desire to return to Portland,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers, in a team statement. “We welcome him back to the club and look forward to his contributions.”
Melano, 25, played in his native Argentina for Belgrano, the club where he got his start, followed by Estudiantes, where he played in both the Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores. Melano signed for the Timbers in the summer of 2015, and while he struggled to find consistent form for much of his initial spell in MLS, he played a pivotal role in the Timbers' 2015 MLS Cup run, scoring a crucial goal and an assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs that year.
“Lucas’ return gives us another quality attacking option and provides even greater competition within our group,” said Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Timbers. “He is a high-quality player who won a championship with this club and is familiar with the surroundings here, and we look forwarding to welcoming him back to the group.”