D.C. United on Wednesday completed the acquisition of Erik Sorga, a promising Estonian forward who averaged almost a goal per game last year in his low-level domestic league.
However, United’s intentions are to promote Sorga, 20, to the first unit as soon as possible.
The organization paid a transfer fee of about $500,000, a small amount by international standards. One person close to the talks said Sorga’s salary will probably be in the modest range of $150,000 to $200,000.
Though he plays the same position as Wayne Rooney — and has scored goals at the rate of the English superstar in his prime — Sorga is not a replacement for United’s former captain.
Ola Kamara, who signed in August in anticipation of Rooney’s return to England, is the presumptive starter. Sorga will add depth and compete for playing time over the course of the 34-game season, which will begin Feb. 29 against Colorado at Audi Field.
United sees him as both a striker and withdrawn forward.
Stewart Mairs, Loudoun’s technical director who works closely with D.C. General Manager Dave Kasper, said in a written statement, “He is a dynamic attacking talent with an extremely impressive goal-scoring record [and] has a high ceiling for development and improvement."
Sorga scored 31 goals in 34 matches for FC Flora last season (video below), albeit on a lightweight circuit. In the final league match, he scored twice in a 12-0 victory. Flora won the 10-team league with a 29-4-3 record and plus-89 goal differential.
The Tallinn-based club also advanced to the second qualifying round in the UEFA Europa League, losing to the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt on a 4-2 aggregate. (Sorga did not score).
He has also earned a spot on the Estonian national team, making six appearances since this past summer and scoring against Belarus in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
“I understand that moving to the U.S. will mean a big change in my life,” he said on Flora’s website, “but I know that football will also be at the heart of that change, and that is what I know and want to do.”
Flora officials said Sorga also drew interest from clubs in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Sorga’s acquisition comes as United is preparing to make a much bigger move: Edison Flores, a Peruvian national team midfielder, is expected to arrive on a multimillion dollar transfer from Mexican club Morelia and become one of the organization’s highest-paid players.
United and Morelia struck an agreement in principle over the weekend and, barring any complications, Flores should be able to report to training camp this month.
United is also seeking an additional attacker and defensive depth. The MLS draft is Thursday, though D.C. does not have a selection until the second round (42nd overall).
Meanwhile, Loudoun United announced it had signed Ted Ku-DiPietro, a 17-year-old midfielder from Oakton and the D.C. youth academy. Last year, he played nine matches for Loudoun as an amateur.