Sporting director Ernst Tanner and the Union made their first big splash of the offseason on Friday by signing 24-year-old Brazilian forward Sergio Santos.
Santos was acquired for a $500,000 transfer fee from Chilean Primera Division club Audax Italiano and was signed using Targeted Allocation Money. The length of the deal was not disclosed.
"Sergio is a young forward with potential and we are pleased to complete his signing," Tanner said in the team's official release. "When we met with him in Chile, it became apparent that he is a good fit for our club both as a player and as a person."
The move is intriguing for multiple reasons. The 6-foot center forward is the first impact addition from new sporting director Ernst Tanner, whose goal for the offseason was to make the Union a more offensive-oriented team with a potential two-forward setup.
Secondly, Santos, who had nine goals in 16 matches for Audex last season, joins a busy Union attack corps that features Cory Burke, C.J. Sapong, David Accam and Fafa Picault. If only two of those five can play at any given time in Tanner's formation, the team could look to ship someone out.
Attacking pieces Jay Simpson, Fabian Herber and Marcus Epps were not retained for the 2019 season.
"We have observed rapid improvement and development at Audax," Tanner said, "and believe he is ready for this next step. We next look forward to integrating him as quickly as possible with the team at the start of preseason."