The Portland Timbers are going back to the well, signing two Argentine players after finding success with MLS Newcomer of the Year Diego Valeri in 2013.
The club announced Wednesday the signings of forward Gaston Fernandez and defender Norberto Paparatto. Fernandez is a 30-year-old forward who is leaving Estudiantes de la Plata to join the Timbers while Paparatto is a center back who goes to Portland from Tigre. Per league policy, terms were not disclosed.
Fernandez was part of Estudiantes' Copa Libertadores-winning squad in 2009 and has played for a number of other Argentine clubs including River Plate. He also played with both Monterrey-based clubs in Liga MX, spending time in 2006 and 2007 with Monterrey and later moving to Tigres.
“Gaston is a talented and motivated player, and is a great addition to our club,” Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said in a news release. “We add another quality, proven goal-scorer to our attacking group. He has experienced success in the top tiers of Argentina and Mexico, and we look forward to him making a big impact in Portland and MLS.”
Paparatto is a center back who was named Tigre's captain prior to the start of the season.
“One of our objectives in the offseason was to add another central defender with a specific profile, and we feel Paparatto is the ideal fit,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said in a news release. “He is technically and tactically sound and will bring another player in our locker room that has experience and leadership qualities playing at a high level for many years. Norberto will also help with our aerial ability, which is a critical component we wanted to enhance in our team. We look forward to integrating him into an already deep back line.”
They'll team with compatriot Valeri, who enjoyed a stellar season with the Timbers after moving from hometown club Lanus.
The Timbers regional rivals, the Seattle Sounders, also did a bit of business, signing former Chivas USA midfielder Tristan Bowen, whose rights were acquired by the Sounders in a trade that sent Mauro Rosales to the California club.
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