The Portland Timbers have made use of Major League Soccer’s new Targeted Allocation Money policy to land themselves another forward.
The Timbers used TAM to pay down Fanendo Adi’s Designated Player salary to below the DP minimum, using that extra league money to sign 22-year-old Argentine forward Lucas Melano.
Melano is a former Argentina U-20 player who has plied his trade professionally with Lanus and Belgrano in his home country, where he scored 15 times in 86 matches.
Melano becomes Portland’s fifth Argentine player, and second Argentine DP after Diego Valeri. Maxi Urruti, Norberto Paparatto, and Gaston Fernandez are the other three.
“This is player we tried to sign several years ago while he was at Belgrano and have followed him very closely ever since,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers. “The process in bringing him to Portland has been a lengthy and challenging one, as he was targeted by several European and Mexican clubs. We believe Lucas is a player that will suit the style and system, will make us better immediately and will be an asset to the club for the future.”
Shortly after joining the club, Melano helped Lanús win the 2013 Copa Sudamericana title, appearing in nine matches and scoring three goals during the cup competition, while finishing tied for fourth among all players in goal scoring during the tournament.
“Melano is a player we’ve had our eye on for some time and we are extremely pleased to finally announce his addition,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “Lucas is a very exciting, dynamic player with pace and individual game-changing ability. His versatility to be able to play any of the front four positions in our system also gives us flexibility to mesh him with our other quality pieces. We feel confident Lucas will make an immediate impact on our goal production this season but will also continue to grow with the club and be a key fixture in MLS for years to come.”
Will this move be a boon to Portland? Hard to say, but the Timbers have gained six points of safety in the race for a playoff spot. But in terms of a relative unknown, will Melano be more Octavio Rivero or Luis Angel Landin?
Well, he did once score a pair of goals in rather quick succession: