IMAGE: Mora v Toronto

Mora's strong season pays off with first call-up

Joseph Mora had a strong first Major League Soccer season. The physical, technically-gifted defender started 28 times in his 30 appearances, playing more than 2,500 minutes for the Black-and-Red in his first season in the District. The left back played a critical role in the club’s strong defensive finish to their 2018 campaign, which included four shutouts in their last six games with the help of Mora's reliability. Now, his hard work is being rewarded with his first call-up to the Costa Rican National Team.

The 25-year-old has made appearances for the Costa Rican U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams, including appearing in the U-17 World Cup in 2009 and the U-20 World Cup in 2011, but will now have the chance to earn his first cap for his country. Mora will be working to earn an appearance in Costa Rica's upcoming friendlies against Peru and and Chile—a good test to see how he can fit into the senior squad moving forward. 

Mora joins a Costa Rican National Team that has consistently been one of the most successful teams in the CONCACAF region. The Ticos have missed just one World Cup since 2002, and advanced as far as the quarterfinals in 2014. In October, Costa Rica announced that former Leon and Club America manager Gustavo Matosas will be replacing former manager Oscar Ramirez—now Mora has a chance to make himself part of Matosas' plans moving forward. 

While Mora may be an unfamiliar face on the international stage, the defender has been a steady presence in United's back line since joining United in March 2018 after a transfer from Saprissa. The defender started in every match for the Black-and-Red since the opening of Audi Field on July 14 against the Vancouver Whitecaps, and notched two assists in his first MLS season.

Mora could provide the Costa Rican National Team some much-desired youth—the Ticos struggled without young talent in the 2018 World Cup, fielding a roster that included 10 players that were 30 years or older and just one player under the age of 25. The defender will look to earn a starting spot and prove himself as a promising young option when Costa Rica face Chile on Friday, Nov. 16 and Peru on Tuesday, Nov. 20.