The Earthquakes signed Canadian defender Nana Attakora in a deal that will bolster the team's backline a week before the Major League Soccer season begins.

The signing, announced Friday but expected for weeks, won't be official until the center back receives a work visa.

The move should allow fullback Justin Morrow to stay in his regular position on the left side of the defense. Morrow had to fill in at center back parts of last season because of injuries to regulars Victor Bernardez and Jason Hernandez.

Attakora, 23, played in six games for the Earthquakes in 2011 after joining the team as part of a four-player trade with Toronto FC. He played at Finland's FC Haka last year but the Quakes retained his MLS rights.

"We're happy to have Nana back to add some depth to our center backs," coach Frank Yallop said in a statement. "We never wanted to see him go, but he looked sharp during his stint in Europe."

Attakora made 56 career appearances for Toronto before coming to San Jose. He also earned his fifth cap for the Canadian national team last month when starting against the United States in a scoreless draw.

The Earthquakes play their final preseason game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against FC Dallas at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland. San Jose opens its regular season a week from Sunday against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.



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