D.C. United is putting the finishing touches on acquiring left back Joseph Mora from Costa Rican club Saprissa, the Insider has learned.
United will pay a transfer fee for the 25-year-old left back, who is scheduled to arrive in Washington this week for a medical exam and final paperwork. It typically takes a few weeks for an international player to receive a work visa. Once he does — and integrates into the squad — Mora will become a prime candidate to start.
Taylor Kemp, United’s first-choice left back, missed most of training camp with complications from last fall’s hernia surgery. Oniel Fisher, acquired in a trade with Seattle last month, started the season-opening 1-1 draw Saturday at Orlando City and is likely to retain the job next Sunday at Atlanta.
United has been eyeing Mora for quite some time, but after Costa Rican media reports this past week suggested a transaction was likely, team sources said the chances for a deal were around 25 percent. However, a breakthrough in negotiations Sunday cleared the way for the transfer. Mora did not play in Saprissa’s 1-0 victory over Cartagines on Sunday.
United officials declined comment. Like several Costa Ricans, Mora is represented by Kurt Morsink, a former D.C. player and scout who lives in Northern Virginia.
In anticipation of a possible move, United on Friday acquired an international roster slot from the Portland Timbers for $100,000 in general allocation money and a 2019 international slot.
Mora has played for Saprissa since February 2015 and started 50 league matches the past two seasons. He was in the lineup for both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16 against Club America, a 5-1 home defeat and 1-1 away draw Wednesday. In the national team system, Mora most recently served with the U-23s in 2016 Olympic qualifying.