PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have loaned midfielder Lucas Melano to Argentine Primera División side Club Atlético Belgrano through Dec. 31, 2017, it was announced today.
“In loaning Lucas to Belgrano, we are looking to place him in a situation that can help him succeed,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “There is always a transitional risk with any foreign player, and that is magnified with young players. The 2016 season was difficult for Lucas, however we believe he is a talented player, and he was a crucial contributor to the Timbers winning MLS Cup in 2015. We expect him to regain his form at his home team in Belgrano, and we wish him all the best.”
Since joining the Timbers midway through the 2015 MLS campaign, Melano, 23, has made 44 regular-season appearances (35 starts), recording four goals and eight assists in 2,993 minutes played. 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.
Melano began his professional career with Belgrano, earning his first-team debut on March 17, 2012, after working his way through the club’s youth ranks. Melano recorded seven goals in 44 career league appearances for Belgrano, helping the club qualify for the 2013 Copa Sudamericana competition with a third-place finish in the 2012-13 Torneo Inicial season.
Prior to joining the Timbers during the 2015 MLS campaign, the Hernando, Argentina, native logged 42 appearances for Argentinian Primera División club Lanús (2013-2015), scoring eight goals while helping the side to a championship in the 2013 Copa Sudamericana as one of the tournament’s leading scorers. In his final season with the club, Melano led Lanús in scoring, recording five goals in 14 games before being acquired by Portland.
Transaction: Portland Timbers loan midfielder Lucas Melano to Club Atlético Belgrano through Dec. 31, 2017, on Jan. 9, 2017.