D.C. United already agreed to add a new “Taxi” in the summer. Now, he is coming to the DMV earlier than expected.
The Black and Red announced Monday it had come to terms with Rapid Vienna of Austria for the early release of Greek striker Taxiarchis “Taxi” Fountas.
The 26-year-old attacker signed a precontract in January to join D.C. in the summer once his current deal expires. Now, pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Trade Certificate, Fountas joins D.C. early into its 2022 MLS season.
“This is a massive step by the club to ensure that Taxi is able to make an immediate impact on team results early in the 2022 season,” D.C. United General Manager Lucy Rushton said in a statement.
“We have started the season positively, and the addition of Taxi in [coach Hernán Losada’s] system will add a crucial spark for us on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Washington Post reported that United is paying Rapid Vienna a transfer fee of $400,000 to release Fountas early from his contract with the Austrian side. The club has not commented on the report.
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— D.C. United (@dcunited) March 21, 2022
Fountas will be United’s second Designated Player — players that earn more than what’s allowed by the team’s salary cap — alongside fellow forward Edison Flores. Each MLS team is allowed to have three DPs. He signed a two-year deal with D.C., with a club option to extend through 2025. Salary figures were not disclosed.
Fountas played in top leagues in Austria and Greece for the last 10 years. He has scored 64 goals and recorded 37 assists. In the previous three seasons with Rapid Vienna, he scored 45 goals and added 21 assists in 90 appearances across all competitions. Fountas also made seven appearances in the Europa League, including scoring against English side Arsenal in 2020.
He has eight caps for the Greece national team, making his last appearance in a World Cup qualifier against Kosovo in September 2021.
Fountas will join an attacking core that has only scored four goals in four games, two of which came on penalty kicks. This group includes Flores, Ola Kamara, Nigel Robertha, and midfielders Adrien Perez and Griffin Yow.
The club sees Fountas as a withdrawn forward playing behind the main striker.
“We feel as though he is a player who is capable of making an immediate impact on the team and it was important for us to get him here as soon as possible,” President of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement.
United is off until April 2 due to the international window. However, due to the P-1 Visa process, Fountas may not make his first appearance for D.C. until April 16 at home against Austin FC.