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Transfer Profile: Marcos Ureña

Gwangju FC have bolstered their squad in preparation of their return to K League 1 with the addition of Costa Rican international Marcos Ureña. He comes into the league a veteran of Liga FPD giants Alajuelense and MLS sides San Jose Earthquakes and LAFC. To find out what Gwangju fans can expect of their new signing, K League United spoke with SB Nation Community Editor, Alicia Rodriguez.

How was he viewed at San Jose and LAFC? League wide?

Ureña was only in MLS a short time (one year each at San Jose and LAFC) but he was viewed as a player who did a job. The Costa Rican possesses a great work rate as a striker and is not afraid to pitch in on defensive duties. Capable of linking up with teammates well, especially more talented teammates, Ureña was not a scorer but served as a classic support striker and pulled off the role well stateside.

Strongest aspects of his game?

He's an underrated passer -- I wouldn't cast him as a pure playmaker, but as a central striker he's capable of linking up in the box and making the final pass to set up a teammate on a great goal. That ability to pass under pressure and his general workrate are definitely his biggest strengths.

Weaknesses?

Ureña scored just six goals in 43 MLS appearances, which helps explain why he moved on quickly. In San Jose he was on a team that was deeply flawed, which fired their longtime coach midseason, but they managed to earn a playoff spot on the final day of the season. You could maybe explain his low goals mark (five in 25 games) on the squad construction.

But then the next year, he played for LAFC, which was an expansion side in 2018, but they were comfortably a playoff team. Ureña could not score for love or money in league play, and ultimately managed just one tally in 18 games. While Ureña played well with star Carlos Vela, his lack of production led to him losing his starting spot as the season went on, and it wasn't a surprise he didn't return last year.

Where do you think he would be best utilized with Gwangju?

He can play as a central striker or a wide forward, but I definitely think his ultimate role needs to be as a support striker for a pure scorer. I think he can score at a better clip in the K-League, as he had a solid strike rate after returning to Costa Rica last year, but it would be a mistake to truly count on him to score every other game, or probably every three games. He's a guy who is a good team player, but don't put your money on him winning the Golden Boot.

What should K League fans expect from him?

Ureña works hard, and provides a high energy level game to game. He's previously played in Russia and Denmark as well as the U.S., and he and his family embrace new places, so I think he will be excited to play on a new continent. He speaks English, but I wouldn't be shocked if he takes Korean lessons to get the most out of this newest adventure.

Best moment in MLS?

I spoke above about the San Jose Earthquakes barely reaching the playoffs in 2017 -- Ureña scored the dramatic winning goal in the 93rd minute, on the final day of the season, to put them in the postseason.

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