The Uruguayan winger and forward is the Impact's first signing this season and won't count as a designated player.
Last year, González helped Sud America attain promotion to the first division, and this season, he’s led the team in scoring with five goals in 14 games, while playing predominantly on the left side of midfield.
Impact sporting director Nick De Santis, who did the bulk of the scouting ahead of this deal, said in a club statement on Friday that he hopes González can help provide a spark for the Impact in attack.
“Santiago is a young striker that has already played three professional seasons,” De Santis said. “He is a dynamic forward that moves very well and can play with his back to the goal. It will take a bit of time to adapt, but I think he can bring a different element to the team.”
González was expected to be signed as a Designated Player, but has been signed under an obscure Special Discovery rule instead, whereby, according to De Santis, a significant portion of the player’s salary doesn’t impact the team’s salary cap.
“It means that the league acquires a young player and that the contract is amortized [over several seasons] so the player’s cap hit reaches between $125,000 and $150,000, give or take,” De Santis told assembled media on Thurday. “That helps the team a lot. Those are young players with experience."
The term “Special Discovery” was first introduced by Portland Timbers’ owner Merritt Paulson in a series of tweets on his Twitter account last summer (which he would later remove) to describe forward Max Urruti, whom the Timbers’ acquired from Toronto FC.
De Santis mentioned Real Salt Lake forward Olmes Garcia, who signed with MLS last year, as another already existing example of a player that falls under the Special Discovery rule.
Since González won’t count as DP, the Impact will still have room to add a third DP this year. De Santis, who returned from another scouting trip to Argentina last week, denied reports that the Impact were targeting Valencia and Lazio midfielders Pablo Piatti and Stefano Mauri.
González will join the Impact in Orlando this weekend for the Disney Classic preseason tournament.
Follow GOAL CANADA on