The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but today a source confirmed to Stumptown Footy that the Portland Timbers have signed defensive midfielder David Guzmán from Deportivo Saprissa.
A source tells me the Timbers have completed the signing of David Guzmán, a defensive midfielder from Deportivo Saprissa. #RCTID— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) December 20, 2016
A source also tells Stumptown Footy that the deal is longer than the two-year deal that was initially rumored.
Guzmán, 26, has been a mainstay in defensive midfield for Saprissa since 2011, logging more than 100 Primera Division starts for La S. Guzmán broke back into the senior Costa Rican national team in 2015, and is expected to be in serious contention to make the World Cup roster in 2018 in the likely event that the Ticos again advance through CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Although details of the Guzmán’s deal with the Timbers were not initially available, the Timbers ordinarily ink major international signings for three years with a club option for a fourth season.
Guzmán is expected to step into the Timbers’ starting eleven next to Diego Chara in midfield. With Guzmán, a natural holding midfielder, in the fold, Chara should have liberty to work as a true box-to-box midfielder. As a result, the longtime Timber should be free to unleash his ball-winning tenacity with the added security of Guzmán protecting the backline.
The completion of Guzmán’s deal comes just days after he helped Saprissa win its 33rd Primera Division title in a season in which the Morado also defeated the Timbers to advance to the knockout stage of CONCACF Champions League. Guzmán played a crucial role in the final game of the Champions League group stage in Portland when he protected the Saprissa backline and calmly distributed through midfield to help the Costa Rican side hold onto an early 1-0 lead to earn the draw and advancement in the regional tournament.
Those qualities are exactly what the Timbers are going Guzmán brings to Portland on a full-time basis in 2017 and beyond. Guzmán’s signing represents the first major addition for the Timbers in an offseason that will likely see several more new faces arrive in the Rose City.