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Union sign Venezuelan midfielder Jesús Bueno

The 22-year-old brings experience playing in Venezuela's domestic league and the Copa Libertadores, South America's top club soccer tournament.

New Union player Jesus Bueno celebrates his goal for his previous club, Venezuela's Deportivo Lara.
New Union player Jesus Bueno celebrates his goal for his previous club, Venezuela's Deportivo Lara.Read morePhiladelphia Union

The Union added some depth to their midfield on Thursday by signing Jesús Bueno, a 22-year-old Venezuelan, from Venezuelan club Deportivo Lara for an undisclosed transfer fee.

“Jesús is a young versatile player we have followed because of his strong potential,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “As the captain of his former club, he brings natural leadership abilities and the mentality we value, and his ability to play multiple positions will allow us to find a good fit for him in our system. We look forward to welcoming him to the team and watching him develop.”

Bueno played 76 games for Lara after turning pro in 2017. Among them were appearances in the 2019 and 2021 editions of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club tournament. He also played two games in the 2019 Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s second-tier club tournament. In March, he captained Lara in a two-game series against Brazilian power Santos that Lara lost, 3-2, on aggregate.

In five Venezuelan league games this season before his move to MLS, Bueno scored two goals. He is the second Lara player to join a MLS team in recent months, after FC Dallas took winger Freddy Vargas on loan in January.

The Union already had a lot of central midfield depth in fellow Venezuelan José Andrés Martínez, Leon Flach, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan, and captain Alejandro Bedoya. But there’s growing chatter about Martínez having foreign suitors, thanks to his good work for the Union and high-profile games with Venezuela’s national team in the Copa América.

On top of that, Matej Oravec has been loaned back to a club in his native Slovakia and might not play for the Union again.

So Bueno is probably a long-term play. And if he can provide substantial depth for the rest of this season, too, all the better.

» READ MORE: The Union played their last four games with just two healthy strikers. Now they will finally get relief.