Timbers acquire central defender Julio Cascante

The Portland Timbers had a blowout 5-1 win Friday night at Providence Park in their season opener against Minnesota United, an expansion team making their MLS debut in Portland. The Timbers haven’t lost an opener since they joined the MLS in 2011, with a 4-win, 3-draw record. (KATU photo on 3-3-2017 by Tristan Fortsch)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Timbers have acquired central defender Julio Cascante from Costa Rica's first-division Deportiva Saprissa.

The Timbers used targeted allocation money for the transfer, which is pending approval of his visa and other documentation.

Cascante, who is from Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, has played in 107 matches with 93 starts since his professional debut in his native country in 2011.

"We have monitored his progress for over a year, and have targeted him to help strengthen our backline," Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. "Julio brings an intense focus and awareness to the game and possesses a number of characteristics we believe will help propel him to the next level in his career."

Cascante's career started with Orion FC before three seasons with C.F. Universidad de Costa Rica. He joined Saprissa in advance of the 2016 season, making 51 league appearances.

He also started in three CONCACAF Champions League matches, including a pair against the Timbers.

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