After a chase that has seemed all but over for the last several weeks, the Portland Timbers have finally made it official and signed Costa Rican holding midfielder David Guzman on a transfer from Deportivo Saprissa.
A 26-year-old midfielder with 25 international caps for the Ticos, Guzman seems like a lock to pair up with Diego Chara in the center of the pitch for the Timbers, providing a sound defensive presence and ability to move the ball should compliment Chara’s free-roaming mode of play.
Timbers fans have had a long look at Guzman since the he announced to the Costa Rican press last week that he would be joining the Timbers, but their first run-in with the player came last season when he took to the pitch for Saprissa against the Timbers in the CONCACAF Champions League as the Costa Rican club took first place in the group stage.
Those appearances were just two of 221 in all competitions that Guzman has made with the side since joining Saprissa seven years ago, notching seventeen goals and 62 yellow cards in that time. (For comparison Diego Chara has accumulated 49 yellows in his six years with the Timbers.) In that time he has lifted five trophies with La S, including one just weeks ago as Saprissa won the league for their 33rd time.
Terms of the transfer were not made public.
The Timbers’ press release:
TIMBERS ACQUIRE COSTA RICAN MIDFIELDER DAVID GUZMÁN
Guzmán joins Portland with over 180 professional appearances and 25 caps for the Costa Rican National Team
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have acquired Costa Rica National Team midfielder David Guzmán via transfer from Deportivo Saprissa, it was announced today. He will be added to the Timbers’ roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 visa.
Guzmán, 26, joins the Timbers with 184 matches played in the Costa Rican Primera Division, making 164 starts for Deportivo Saprissa and C.S. Cartaginés.
“David is an experienced player we have tracked for some time and one who fits the positional profile we targeted this offseason,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “He has experienced what it is like to play in Portland and is very excited about this opportunity to join the Timbers. We are pleased to welcome him to the club and his new city.”
Since making his professional debut in 2009, Guzmán played for Deportivo Saprissa for the past eight seasons, winning five Primera Division championships and a Copa Costa Rica title with Saprissa. Additionally, Guzmán has earned 16 appearances (15 starts) in the CONCACAF Champions League, helping Saprissa advance to the tournament on five occasions, including a semifinal appearance in 2011, which is the team’s best finish in the current iteration of the tournament.
"Guzmán is a true No. 6 and will be a good fit on both sides of the ball,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “He is a technical, possession-type player and is smart positionally to help connect our midfield and back line defensively. David is also hungry to win more trophies and we feel his edge will complement the other players in our squad."
Most recently, Guzmán made 23 league appearances (22 starts) for Saprissa, compiling three goals in 1,794 minutes played in 2016 while helping to guide the team to its 33rd Primera Division championship, with Saprissa winning the 2016 Torneo de Invierno. Additionally, Guzmán made four appearances (4 starts) in the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, including two games against Portland.
Guzmán also has earned 25 caps with the Costa Rica National Team since making his senior team debut in 2010, representing Costa Rica at the 2011 Copa America, the 2011 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cups and recent 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Guzmán will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Transaction: Portland Timbers acquire midfielder David Guzmán via transfer from Deportivo Saprissa on Dec. 22, 2016.
Height: 5-10Weight: 175
Born: Feb. 18, 1990, in San Jose, Costa Rica
Last Club: Deportivo Saprissa
Citizenship: Costa Rica
Acquired: Acquired from Deportivo Saprissa on Dec. 22, 2016