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San Jose Earthquakes sign defender Luciano Abecasis

Veteran links back up with Matias Almeyda in MLS.

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Abecasis (center) in Copa Libertadores action in 2020.
Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images

The San Jose Earthquakes announced Wednesday they have signed defender Luciano Abecasis on a free transfer to a one-year contract with an option to extend the deal.

The 30-year-old joins as the presumed new starting right back for the Earthquakes, following a career in South America and Europe.

“By signing Luciano, our goal was to strengthen our defense with an established fullback,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a team statement. “We feel fortunate to have him join on a free transfer as he had a number of competing offers in Argentina. Luciano has accumulated valuable experience in numerous competitive settings, including Copa Libertadores, and with his knowledge of the position and impressive work rate, we believe he will provide strong cover in defensive duels and positional options in attack.”

Abecasis is a native of Argentina, who began his career with Argentine giant River Plate, and played at that club under current San Jose head coach Matias Almeyda, the duo winning the second-division title together to win promotion back to the Argentine Primera in 2012.

The defender had loan stints at Quilmes and in Italy at Pescara while on the books at River Plate, before moving on to Godoy Cruz in 2016 and enjoying his best run to date as a pro, playing 89 times for that club. A quick stint at Lanús was followed by a trip to Paraguay to play for Club Libertad last year. Abecasis has made 15 appearances in the Copa Libertadores in his career, for Godoy Cruz and Libertad.

It’s an intriguing move and a bit of a risk/reward proposition for the Quakes. The price was certainly right, and while Abecasis has experience playing abroad and is a veteran, making a debut move to MLS at 30 is a bit of an unknown. At the same time, the player being on a one-year deal gives the club flexibility if it doesn’t work out, and hopefully he will have a good preseason and that could help him acclimate to San Jose and his new league. And if he works out, then trading away Nick Lima in the offseason won’t be a big subtraction and we all know the defense needs upgrading anyway. This is a potentially important step in making that happen.

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