TRANSFER Ronald Matarrita

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Free

Longtime MLS left back Ronald Matarrita has gone overseas and signed for SC Dnipro-1, the Ukrainian Premier League leaders announced Monday.

The 28-year-old Costa Rican international was a free agent after FC Cincinnati declined his contract option following the 2022 campaign. He was limited to seven games played last year due to an ankle injury, though he recovered in time to represent Los Ticos at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Matarrita played the past seven years in MLS, contributing seven goals and 21 assists across 135 regular-season games. He spent 2016-20 at New York City FC after arriving from Alajuelense, one of Costa Rica’s biggest clubs, then was traded to FC Cincinnati in December 2020 for up to $600,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM).

Matarrita seemed unlikely to return to FC Cincinnati after two moves the Eastern Conference club made this winter: signing incumbent starter Alvaro Barreal to a long-term contract and acquiring youngster Isaiah Foster in a transfer from USL Championship side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.

But Matarrita was among MLS’s top free-agent defenders, and his attack-minded presence reportedly sparked interest across the league. He’s also vastly experienced, appearing 54 times for Costa Rica.

Instead, Matarrita joins a Ukranian side that began competing in 2017 and has Europa Conference League competition this season. The Ukrainian Premier League has only ever been won by Dynamo Kyiv or Shakhtar Donetsk.