Luis Amarilla (right) - Sol de America
Reuters/Action Images

Minnesota United sign Paraguayan forward Luis Amarilla on loan from Velez Sarsfield


Minnesota United strengthened their attack on Tuesday by signing Paraguayan forward Luis Amarilla on a 12-month loan from Velez Sarsfield. The deal was completed via Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and includes a purchase option.

Amarilla, 24, will occupy an international roster slot, and the move will be complete pending a physical and receipt of his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

“Luis is someone that will be a big addition for us up front,” said Minnesota technical director Mark Watson. “He’s a goalscorer. He was a Vélez player but on loan at Catolica in Ecuador and watching his goals, his movement, he’s got everything we’re looking for in a striker. Adrian saw him live earlier in the year and was really impressed. On top of it, he’s someone who has a great work rate. He fights, he runs, and he’s going to fit in really well with our club philosophy.”

Amarilla spent last year with Universidad Catolica in Ecuador, where he scored 19 goals in 24 games to lead the league. In the two prior seasons, Amarilla made 12 appearances for Velez Sarsfield.

His professional career began at Paraguayan side Club Libertad, where he stayed from 2013-16, with loans also to Club 3 de Febrero and Sol de America. He’s earned five appearances for Paraguay’s U-20 team, with one goal coming against Peru in the 2015 South American Championship. 

“One of the things we thought we had to address moving into the season was finishing a higher proportion of the chances we create,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “We think Luis will help us in that category. We had some tight games last year — especially at home — that we should have put away. To do that, you need somebody who’s a fox-in-the-box, a guy who can finish it when it comes across the face of goal, and he’s got really good movement. 

“He’s a good age, 24, can link up with people, can play into midfield, but most importantly, he gets all types of goals. Off the goalkeeper, five yards out, overhead kicks, headers, benders, you name it.”

The move gives Minnesota a second striker ahead of the 2020 campaign, since Mason Toye was previously the only one under contract. The Loons also recently parted ways with Angelo Rodriguez, while two other attackers have landed elsewhere in MLS. Abu Danladi was selected in the 2019 Expansion Draft by Nashville SC, and Darwin Quintero was traded to the Houston Dynamo in November. 

Minnesota are entering their fourth MLS season, having made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2019. They'll open their upcoming campaign March 1 at the Portland Timbers.

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