Costa Rican CB Francisco Calvo to Minnesota United

by on 22 December 2016

Minnesota United confirmed on Tuesday the signing of center back Francisco Calvo, using Targeted Allocation Money to buy his salary below Designated Player-level. Calvo is the second Costa Rican international on United’s roster, joining attacker Johan Venegas. Reports linking Calvo to Minnesota started circulating on December 22.

The 24-year-old Calvo would join United from Saprissa, a club that Amos Magee was known to be scouting earlier this offseason. FiftyFive.One listed Calvo as a potential target at the time, with our own Ben Mackenzie citing the “young, athletic defender has enough prowess to range up and down the field.” In 27 matches with Saprissa, Calvo scored six goals, good for second on the team.

A naturally left-footed player, Calvo can play either at center back or left back. He’s earned 17 caps to the Costa Rican national team, including two starts in this past summer’s Copa America Centenario. Listed around 5’11”, Calvo could partner well with current Loon Joseph Greenspan. Calvo is a player who’s strong with his feet, has pace to keep his mark or make attacking runs, and could be an instant starter for United.

Minnesota United declined to confirm when asked about Calvo.


Seven hours after posting, Saprissa has confirmed that Calvo is off to Minnesota United.

Saprissa posted a message to their former player to wish him luck with United. This will mark Calvo’s second stint playing in the United States. He played with San Jacinto in 2010 as an agreement with Saprissa’s academy.

One Saprissa supporter praised Calvo, saying he was an “occasional scorer, (who) tends to play on the left, but also plays center.” He also referred to the defender as a “solid fixture in the national team. He is very consistent and very good in the air.”

Given his 5’11” frame, it may come as a surprise about his presence as an aerial threat. However, Calvo is known for his strong positioning and impressive vertical. He still won’t hit 25 years old until July 8, meaning he can be a long-term fixture for the Loons. Further, the move to MLS could pave the way to more regular playing time with Los Ticos.

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