Austin FC Adds Speedy Winger Washington Corozo on Rest-of-Season Loan

Ecuadorian attacker arrives via Liga MX’s Pumas UNAM

New Austin FC player Washington Corozo, who will wear No. 32 for the Verde and Black, stands with club sporting director Claudio Reyna at St. David's Performance Center (Photo by Eric Goodman)

Spare a thought for right backs across the MLS Western Conference. They’ve got their hands full with Austin FC’s newest player: speedy Ecuadorian winger Washington Corozo.

The Verde and Black unveiled Corozo at the club’s training facility Wednesday morning, naming the soon-to-be 24-year-old as Austin FC’s first acquisition of the summer transfer window. Corozo arrives on a six-month loan deal from Peruvian Liga 1 club Sporting Cristal, with an option to make the loan permanent at the end of the season. According to a league source, Corozo chose Austin FC over a similar offer from Brazilian club Flamengo, one of the biggest clubs in South America.

Austin FC, which has so far outperformed all expectations in its second year and currently sits second in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, will hope that Corozo can be the kind of attacking difference-maker that elevates the Oaks from plucky overachievers to bona fide MLS Cup contenders.

“MLS provides a very interesting opportunity. I think I can improve a lot,” Corozo said, adding that one of his primary objectives over the next six months is to play his way onto Ecuador’s roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “It’s a goal that I have planned. I want to come to MLS and do really well so I can earn my spot on the [national team] roster.”

It also does not take a massive amount of dot-connecting to view Corozo as part of Austin FC’s contingency plan to replace Designated Player winger Cecilio Domínguez, who has not suited up for the Verde and Black since March and appears unlikely to do so again. MLS suspended Domínguez for five games in the spring while the league investigated a report of a domestic dispute involving the player and his ex-partner. When that investigation wrapped up in early May, the league reinstated Domínguez without further penalty beyond mandated counseling.

Shortly after that ruling, however, Austin FC’s two largest supporters’ groups, Los Verdes and Austin Anthem, called for an end to the Paraguayan’s time as an Austin FC player. As the months of May and June passed without any sight of Domínguez on the ATX bench, it has become apparent that those fans have likely gotten their wish. Club sporting director Claudio Reyna, present for Corozo’s unveiling, did not make himself available for questions and has not addressed the media since Domínguez’s reinstatement.

Like Domínguez, who Austin FC signed from South America following a stint in Mexico’s Liga MX, Corozo comes to Austin after spending the last 12 months on loan with Pumas UNAM in Mexico City. He scored seven goals in 34 appearances with Pumas, including a crucial brace against archrivals Club América in the second leg of the “La Ligilla” playoff quarterfinals. Corozo also played in all eight matches of Pumas’ run to the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League final, scoring once. In September 2021, he made his first and only appearance for the Ecuadorian national team as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.

Corozo stands a slender 5 feet, 10 inches and possesses head-turning athleticism. He’s got exceptional speed, as many wingers do, but Corozo sets himself apart with his quickness. His ability to accelerate from a standstill to full-on sprint in a single stride is what produced many of his highlight-reel moments with Pumas, giving opposing defenders fits. He plays primarily on the left wing, cutting inside on his dominant right foot. He attacks downhill and, with only one assist during his time at Pumas, is more of a finisher than a provider, which makes for an interesting fit into Josh Wolff’s possession-oriented attacking system.

“I think I’m a very skilled player and very fast. I have a lot of technical ability,” Corozo said when asked to describe his play style. “I’ll give everything I have for Austin FC and can’t wait to step out under the lights at Q2 Stadium.”

For more Austin FC news and analysis, visit The Austin Chronicle's Austin FC hub. Follow "The Verde Report" columnist Eric Goodman on Twitter: @goodman.

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