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Timbers to sign Honduran striker Darixon Vuelto?

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Bennett Dewan

It looks like the Portland Timbers may not be done acquiring international attacking talent this offseason.

After the rumors initially popped up a couple weeks ago, a flurry of reports out of Honduras in the last 24 hours indicate the Timbers may be acquiring Darixon Vuelto, a young Honduran striker who broke out for Real España in the Honduran top flight this season.

Vuelto has scored 10 goals for España in just under 2000 minutes this season, making a mark after a yearlong loan to Tenerife in Spain’s second division did not pan out. Vuelto has been a mainstay for the Honduran youth international sides since 2015, including nine appearances while scoring two goals for the U-20 side in 2017 during the U-20 World Cup and qualifying.

Known as a pacey striker, Vuelto has spent most of his time to date playing as a center forward, but may also be able to play as a winger. Of note, after the signing of Samuel Armenteros, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson indicated on Twitter that the club was still trying to sign a speedy, young attacker. Vuelto very much fits that profile.

The Honduran speedster has been connected to multiple MLS teams over the course of the offseason, including FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, LAFC, and the Seattle Sounders. If these most recent reports are correct, however, it appears the Timbers are going to win out for his services. Alicia Rodriguez at MLSSoccer.com reported on Saturday that the Dynamo were interested in signing Vuelto, but that Houston did not hold his discovery rights and no deal with Wilmer Cabrera’s side was imminent.

We may now know why that deal with Houston is not imminent — it may be with Portland.

If Vuelto ultimately lands in Portland, he figures immediately to step into competition with Jeremy Ebobisse and Foster Langsdorf as young forward depth or as depth on the wing. It is unclear whether Vuelto’s contract would be a first-team deal or whether he would come to Portland on a T2 contract with eyes toward a promotion to first team like Victor Arboleda in 2015.

UPDATE: Diario Diez, a major Honduran outlet, reported on Monday morning that the Timbers’ deal for Vuelto is done, and that he will travel to Portland to join up with the team as soon as he receives his visa.

Diario Diez’s report has since been echoed by multiple Honduran outlets. The report seems to imply that Vuelto is signing a first-team contract, but foreign reports often aren’t clear on those points. Accordingly, it’s probably best to take a wait-and-see approach to whether Vuelto will be contracted to the MLS or USL side in 2018. Regardless, it is appearing very likely that Vuelto will be in a Timbers uniform in one capacity or another this season.

UPDATE #2: Diario Diez has now posted an interview with Vuelto in which the Honduran attacker confirms his impending move to Portland and says, among other things, that the Timbers have been following him for a year-and-a-half.

Yeah, this looks like it’s happening.