What Do the Signings of Eric Avila and Paulo André Mean?



After yesterday’s signing of MLS veteran Eric Avila and reported signing of Brazilian Paulo André, Orlando City SC‘s roster rounds out at 31 players as of today. With this being said, a few of the young guys and draft picks from the SuperDraft will probably head to Louisville City FC to get some time to play. But for now, lets have a look at how the two new guys will fit into the team.

First off, let's start with the fourth player on Orlando City over the age of 30, Paulo André. At 31 years old and as an experienced player in both the Brazilian and French top tier leagues, he brings a good veteran presence to the Lions' back line. Not that Orlando doesn't have that already, but it further shores up the center back position.

With Tommy Redding still developing as a player, the signing of a third CB will give Adrian Heath some leeway with him and possibly allow some loan stints in Louisville to happen.

In terms of what André brings to the table, he's just a solid defender. He stays in front of players and hardly ever goes in for rash challenges. Call him a consummate veteran. Also, just as a fun fact, both André and Kaká grew up in the same youth program in Brazil, Saō Paulo FC, in the late 90s and early 00s.

Now, on to Eric Avila, who has been in MLS since 2008. Since then, he has played for three different clubs in that time. He's traditionally a midfielder, but has dropped back to play the right fullback position in recent years. Looking at the team needs right now, the right back position is where Avila might see most of his time.

While Rafael Ramos looked impressive in the first preseason game and Tyler Turner is the favorite to be the starter, they are both still very much under-experienced. Avila could fill that role well, and let both young guys come along at their own pace.

Plus, Turner and Ramos will likely miss some time with the team when the FIFA U-20 World Cup happens in May, when both go off to play for the U.S. and Portugal, respectively. Avila would be the perfect fit for that situation, which is most likely one of the reasons he was brought in.

Where does that leave the other 29 players? With Orlando City only having 11 international roster spots and André signing would make it 12, there would need to be some room made.

According to reports, the new CBA for MLS would only allow 26 players on a roster, which means Orlando would have to move at least five players to accommodate the new rules. The most likely scenario to happen would be all the draft picks from the SuperDraft (Cyle Larin, Conor Donovan, Earl Edwards Jr. and Akeil Barrett) would be loaned out to Louisville, along with Tommy Redding, in order to make room for international spots and general roster spots.

This gives all the young guys a chance to play and grow, while still being under contract with Orlando. (As a general note, I would have had Harrison Heath on this list a week ago, but I have been hearing pretty good things about his play so far and it looks like he might stay with the team.)

Of course, this is still very early to speculate what happens. After all, we're only in the second week of preseason. Some players could be cut or others could impress enough to stay on the active roster. We can only wait and see what happens over the next month.

But what do you think? Are the new signings good for the team? Who's the most likely to head to Louisville as of right now? Let me know in the comments section below!


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