D.C. United has taken an interest in Costa Rica’s Jose Guillermo Ortiz as a possible offseason acquisition, sources close to the situation said Thursday.
Ortiz, a 24-year-old attacker who can play striker or wing, is on United’s “radar” and the club is “discussing what it would take” to land him but “nothing is final,” one source said.
United officials declined to comment on player speculation.
A New York City FC blog keeping tabs on Ronald Matarrita, NYCFC’s Costa Rican outside back, said on Twitter that United was aiming to acquire Ortiz on loan. That part of United’s interest could not be independently verified by the Insider, though it would make sense. Last winter, United took Argentine playmaker Luciano Acosta on loan from Boca Juniors with an option for a permanent transfer after the season. (Last month, United secured Acosta for the long term.)
Ortiz scored 17 goals in 48 league appearances for Alajuelense in 2015-16 and four in 26 matches in the current campaign. He played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with archrival Saprissa on Wednesday. He’s been with Alajuelense’s first team for almost four years after beginning with the reserve squad.
In the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, Ortiz scored twice in the home leg against United.
D.C. is seeking frontline depth after parting ways with Costa Rican striker Alvaro Saborio this offseason. Nigerian forward Kennedy Igboananike is also unlikely to return.
Patrick Mullins is pegged to start at striker in 2017 after making a profound impact upon his arrival from NYCFC last summer (eight goals, two assists in 12 starts). Lloyd Sam and Patrick Nyarko are projected to start on the wings, with Acosta pulling the strings in central midfield.
Lamar Neagle, the team’s leading scorer with nine goals, is also a starting candidate. Alhaji Kamara is expected to remain in the mix after an injury-marred first season in Washington. Chris Rolfe, the team’s 2015 MVP and top scorer, is hopeful of reviving his career after a concussion sidelined him for most of the 2016 campaign, but that seems like a longshot.