United is in talks with its other first-rounder, Clemson attacker Kimarni Smith, the No. 4 pick, and Stanford right back Logan Panchot, a second-round selection.
DeShields becomes the fourth center back on the roster, joining Steven Birnbaum, Frédéric Brillant and Donovan Pines. United has traditionally played with two starting center backs, but in Losada’s system, the team will often use three. D.C. remains in the market for another experienced center back.
DeShields sat out the 2020 season because of injury. In November, he signed with New England Revolution II, a third-division squad. However, the MLS deal superseded the lower-tier contract.
He was named to Trinidad and Tobago’s senior national team for Sunday’s friendly against the United States in Orlando but withdrew because of injury.
“Michael impressed us with his physicality, athleticism and composure on the ball during his time with Wake Forest,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said. “We are adding important depth at center back, and we’re excited that we were able to acquire someone of Michael’s pedigree in the draft.”
Frutos, 39, was Losada’s teammate at Independiente in their native Argentina and at Anderlecht in Belgium. Most recently, Frutos was an Anderlecht assistant.
United assistants Chad Ashton and Zach Thornton are expected to be retained.
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