WASHINGTON — D.C. United finalized a one-year loan deal for midfielder Lucas Rodríguez from Argentine side Club Estudiantes de La Plata, the club announced Monday. The deal has an option for permanent transfer at the end of the year.
Although Rodríguez is transferring from the Argentine Primera División, D.C. United sent $50,000 of General Allocation Money to Major League Soccer reigning champion Atlanta United for the player’s discovery rights.
Rodríguez scored eight goals and recorded five assists in 90 appearances in the past five seasons for Estudiantes, including 12 Copa Liberatadores.
“At 21, he has been a consistent starter at the top level of Argentine soccer over the last three seasons and has both Copa Liberatadores and U-20 World Cup experience with Argentina,” D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement released by the club. “Lucas can play any of the attacking positions centrally and in wide areas, and has all the qualities to succeed in Major League Soccer.”
United first took notice of Rodríguez in 2015 while scouting midfielder Luciano Acosta, according to the Washington Post.
Rodríguez adds to United’s strong attack, which included fellow Argentinians Acosta and Yamil Asad last season. The addition of Rodríguez could mean the departure of another United midfielder. While United declined the contract for Asad after the 2018 season, the club is confident he is happy in D.C. and could sign a new deal.
The latest loan puts $1 million midfielder Zoltan Stieber in danger on United’s roster. Stieber transferred to United on Aug. 9, 2017. He started 21 of 27 games he played for United in 2018.
United opens the 2019 season Sunday, March 3 at 6 p.m. against Atlanta.