For the Black-and-Red, defense is critical. With standout center backs Steven Birnbaum and Frédéric Brillant, MLS veteran goalkeepers Steve Clark and David Ousted, and United’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Kofi Opare at the heart of the back line, the Black-and-Red are well-versed in defending. Leidos—the presenting partner of D.C. United—provides systems, solutions, and services covering air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace for Defense and Intelligence customers worldwide. Sponsored by Leidos, this weekly feature delves into some of the defensive storylines for United.
After two road games in tough environments against Orlando City and Atlanta United, the Black-and-Red defense has faced some major tests early in the season. And despite falling for the first time against Atlanta last weekend, the group’s core has grown together. This week, they welcome another new face in Costa Rican defender Joseph Mora, who joins United from Deportivo Saprissa.
Mora is an outside back who can play on either the left or right side, and while he has yet to play in MLS, he has already build a strong professional resume.
The 25-year-old scored one goal and recorded two assists in 83 appearances in all competitions for Saprissa in the Liga de Fútbol de Primera División (2014/2015 - 2017/2018). Mora also helped Saprissa win two Costa Rican Invierno Championships in the 2015/2016 (14 appearances) and 2016/2017 (38 appearances) seasons.
After Saprissa’s run in the CONCACAF Champions League came to an end, Mora signed with D.C. looking for a new challenge in MLS. He also arrived in the District fit and ready to go thanks to his recent action with Saprissa.
Mora brings a level of physicality and finesse to the United back line, and has experience with former Saprissa teammate, and current United teammate, Ulises Segura. In the eyes of the coaching staff, Mora can contribute to the Black-and-Red immediately.
“He is a talented young left back who possesses very good technical and physical qualities,” United GM Dave Kasper said. “He is coming to us with a great deal of first team and international experience. We look forward to immediately integrating Joseph into our team."
Whenever Mora takes the field for his new club, it will mark the eighth time this season that a new face has made their debut with United, and Mora is ready for the challenge.