The Philadelphia Union announced on Friday the signing of former Puerto Rico Islanders defender Cristian Arrieta. Per club and league policy, the details of the deal were not disclosed.
“We're very excited to have Arrieta join our club,” said team manager Peter Nowak in a statement. “He was one of the best defenders in the USL and we expect him to continue his success in MLS. His wealth of international experience will also help to strengthen our defensive line."
Coming to MLS from the USL-First Division side, the 30-year-old Arrieta was a valuable contributor to the Islanders from 2008 until this year. He made 54 appearances for the club during that time and notched an impressive 17 goals in the process.
Twice named the USL defender of the year, Arrieta played so well that he was named the league’s MVP in 2009.
A straight swap for the recently released David Myrie, the rangy Arrieta could slot straight into the Union’s starting right back position as soon as Saturday’s match against D.C. United. He’s been training with the team for the last two weeks and should be quite familiar with the set-up of the squad and Nowak’s tactics.
Arrieta's veteran presence will certainly be an upgrade over Myrie, who before First Kick 2010 had never made a MLS appearance. Arrieta’s professional career has spanned the more than a decade as he spent much of it over sees in Italy playing with various clubs before joining the Islanders.
An Italian-American, Arrieta was born in Orlando, Fla.