D.C. United's signing of young Rafael 'no-brainer'

[MLS TRANSACTIONS] D.C. United signed Brazilian Rafael to a young Designated Player on a one-year loan along with an option to buy. It hopes the 20-year-old striker will be the answer to the club's woes up front last year when it operated by committee.

The 6-foot Rafael had four goals in 20 games for Bahia in the Campeonato Brasileiro (national league) and Baiano state league.

D.C. United ranked fourth in MLS with 53 goals, but none of its forwards scored more than seven goals. It is hoping to team Rafael with Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius -- if they're healthy -- and Nick DeLeon in what on paper would be one of MLS's most intriguing front fours.

“There were more accomplished and experienced players at the No. 9 position that we had on our radar, but there was something about this total package that really intrigued us with Rafael,” United GM Dave Kasper said in a conference call on Wednesday. “His age, his experience, his upside, his physical presence, his ability to get to great spots in the box. He has scored very different types of goals. It was basically a no-brainer compared to a lot more expensive players and a lot more accomplished players we were looking at.”

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