United have acquired Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta on a permanent transfer from Boca Juniors following the expiration of his one-year loan agreement. He will occupy a Designated Player spot for the majority of his contract. Targeted Allocation Money will be used to buy down his salary budget charge for the 2017 season.
The transfer fee paid to Boca Juniors is the largest paid in D.C. United club history and the total investment into Acosta is the highest in nearly a decade.
Acosta, 22, finished his first season in Major League Soccer leading the team with 11 assists and scoring three goals.
"This substantial investment demonstrates our ownership's commitment to our continued success on the pitch in the coming years," Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. "We are excited to obtain Lucho's services for the long-term. Ben, the rest of the coaching staff and I were impressed with how much Lucho grew as a player over the course of his first season in MLS. His rapid development and acclimation to a new league, country, team and culture are a sure sign of things to come."
A five-foot-three center midfielder, Acosta scored his first MLS goal on April 23 against the New England Revolution when he chipped the goalkeeper from outside the penalty area. The effort was named AT&T MLS Goal of the Week and eventually Goal of the Month. He recorded his first two assists in United’s 4-0 victory over Vancouver on April 9, and went on to tie a club record for assists in a single match with three against the Chicago Fire on Aug. 27. Acosta was also named to Major League Soccer’s Top 24 Under 24 list in September (14th).
A creative outlet for United all year, Acosta was at the center of the Black-and-Red offense; in matches where the Buenos Aires native scored a goal or recorded an assist, United went 7-1-2.