Real Salt Lake announced the signing of Spanish striker Alfredo Ortuño on Wednesday. The 26-year-old joins the Claret and Cobalt from Cádiz CF in Spain’s second tier where he’s played the majority of his career. The club is using targeted allocation money (TAM) to complete the transaction.
Alfredo Ortuño Signs TAM Deal With Real Salt Lake
“I’m very happy to be signing with Real Salt Lake and very excited to live in America,” Ortuño said in a team release. “It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to grow as a player in a challenging environment.”
Ortuño is coming off an impressive campaign with Cádiz. He registered 17 goals in 40 appearances for the Liga Segunda club during the 2016-17 season. It marked his second straight loan spell after signing with Las Palmas ahead of their promotion to La Liga in 2015. Ortuño spent the previous season on loan with Real Zaragoza.
The native of Yecla, Spain initially joined Las Palmas on loan from Granada in January of 2015. This came after signing a four-year deal with Granada the previous summer. His Spanish top flight debut came with the team on August 23, 2014 when he played 45 minutes in a 2-1 win over Deportivo La Coruña.
Over the course of his professional career, the product of the Albacete academy has a total of 64 goals in 249 total appearances at varying levels in Spain.
“He has a proven track record of scoring goals at a high level in Spain,” RSL general manager Waibel noted. “We believe he can come in, challenge the status quo and continue to push to make our team better.”
What the Signing Means
RSL made an admirable push for the playoffs late in 2017 but came up just short. Part of it had to do with a horrific start to the season which saw them score just 17 goals over their first 19 games. It’s what led to the club making a midseason change at manager, bringing in Mike Petke in place of Jeff Cassar. Though the team did get better production in the final third down the stretch, nobody on the roster finished with more than seven goals in MLS play.
That’s not a recipe for success. And so there certainly is a need to bolster the squad’s attacking depth with a proven goalscorer. They already boast a fairly talented playmaker in Albert Rusnak. Still, there never really was consistency up top. Veteran striker Yura Movsisyan was one of four players who tied for the team lead in goals. But seven doesn’t really cut it for a player on a $1.75 million base salary. Plus, he clearly never found favor with Petke and still could be on his way out if they can unload his contract to a willing team.
Ortuño brings competition to an attacking unit with plenty of potential. The club already made the loan deals for Brooks Lennon and Jefferson Savarino permanent moves. And they have a young attacker in Joao Plata with 16 goals and 17 assists over his previous two seasons. If Ortuño pans out and RSL doesn’t experience a repeat of last year’s early season malaise, watch out. This could be one of the surprise teams out of the Western Conference in 2018.