Lucas Melano returns to Portland Timbers from loan with Estudiantes

Lucas Melano, Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo, 06.26.16

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers today announced that forward Lucas Melano has returned to the club from his loan with Superliga Argentina club Estudiantes.

“Despite numerous options in South America and Europe, Lucas showed a strong desire to return to Portland,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We welcome him back to the club and look forward to his contributions.”

The Hernando, Argentina, native rejoins the Timbers after spending the past two seasons in the Argentine first division. Originally joining Atlético Belgrano on loan from the Timbers on Jan. 9, 2017, Melano made 35 league appearances (24 starts) across two seasons for Belgrano and Estudiantes, tallying three goals. Additionally, Melano made eight appearances (7 starts) in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana for Estudiantes, posting two goals in the Copa Libertadores in the 2018 campaign.

“Lucas’ return gives us another quality attacking option and provides even greater competition within our group,” said Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Timbers. “He is a high-quality player who won a championship with this club and is familiar with the surroundings here, and we look forwarding to welcoming him back to the group.”

Melano, 25, originally joined the Timbers midway through the 2015 campaign on July 17, 2015. Prior to returning to Argentina, Melano made 44 regular-season appearances (35 starts) in MLS play for the Timbers, recording four goals and eight assists. Additionally, Melano made six appearances (4 starts) during the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, scoring the series-deciding goal against FC Dallas in the Western Conference Championship and recording an assist on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against Columbus Crew SC in the 2015 MLS Cup.