CLUB: D.C. United
YEARS PRO: 4
D.C. United Midfielder Luciano Acosta packs a lot of football into a 5-foot-3, 130-pound space. The 22-year-old, acquired in February on loan from Argentine giants Boca Juniors, is a handful for defenders when he's on the ball because of his creativity, skill, flair and unexpected strength.
With three goals and nine assists in 27 outings (21 starts), Acosta is as much a threat to make the final pass – or finish an opportunity himself – as he is to maintain possession in the middle of the park. He's also quick to adapt, featuring in both of D.C. United's CONCACAF Champions League knockout round matches in February shortly after joining the club. Acosta may be around for a long time as well, amid reports D.C. will look to make his current loan move permanent.
What the technical staffers say:
"He doesn’t give a whole lot for you defensively, but he’s got a lot of the tools that you look for in a creative No. 10. He’s got a strong core, he’s creative in the attacking third, he’s got the feet to be creative. I think the thing that you want to see is, does he have the killer instinct to really want to succeed in this league?"
“It’s clicking at the right time for him right now. He’s a dangerous guy. I don’t want to get out too far ahead of myself, but you see the flashes that are almost Giovinco-like. They’re tiny, they have that low center of gravity, you can’t get too close to them because they’ll run by you, they can draw fouls, they’ll embarrass you – they make defenders backpedal is the easiest way to put it. He’s in that category. Early on I had questions, but he’s been excellent and I’m [upset] we didn’t get him.”
"Listen, any time you get the No. 10 shirt at [Boca Juniors] you are different, you’re special. There’s a lot of weight that comes with that shirt too, so I think he’s still a young guy that has dealt with a lot of pressure. I think coming to MLS has been great. Luciano’s adjusted quickly to the league. Now you’re starting to really see it add up to goals and assists. And that was the question, is he just a tiny guy who can do 400 step-overs and roll a ball through a guy’s legs but not make the right decision on the final ball? And now you’re starting to see that final ball – he’s special.”