D.C. United has confirmed a widely reported deal, acquiring Lithuanian left back Vytautas Andriuskevicius (more commonly referred to as Vytas) from the Portland Timbers just hours before the end of MLS’s transfer window. Ives Galarcep broke the news of a trade yesterday, while Steve Goff was first to report what was going in the other direction: $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Goff also reports that the Timbers will carry half of Vytas’ salary budget hit, though as with all MLS transactions, the team’s release did not delve into those specifics.
Vytas, 27, has a green card and will not require an international roster spot. That’s important, because United currently has more international players (eight) than they have available spots (seven), which has caused Bruno Miranda to be listed as on loan with the Richmond Kickers despite not appearing to be with D.C.’s USL affiliate. The Black-and-Red have two open senior roster spots, and have been repeatedly linked to a move for former star goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who is not in FC Midtjylland’s traveling squad for a Europa League qualifying match tomorrow.
He’ll likely be expected to take over the starting job at left back, where Joseph Mora has failed to convince since joining the team just after the start of the season. However, given that Vytas was only available after being pushed down Portland’s depth chart by journeyman Zarek Valentin, it remains to be seen whether United truly got better, or just got deeper.
At his best, Vytas can be very threatening overlapping on the left wing, and picked up 5 assists in 2017 between the regular season and playoffs. Ben Olsen will be hoping the change of scenery can bring the best out of the Lithuanian national team regular. At 6’2”, Vytas will add some much-needed size should he push Mora out of the starting eleven.