Once considered a potential long-term depth option at striker, Aiás only appeared in Orlando City’s first two matches this season before the club loaned him to Spanish second division side Real Oviedo on July 4. The deal includes an option to buy his contract at the loan’s conclusion on June 30, 2022.
Orlando City acquired him Aug. 21, 2020 via transfer for an undiscolsed fee from Watford and signed him to a two-and-a-half year contract. After appearing for a total of 18 minutes over four matches off the bench in 2020, he was slotted to provide another option at forward in 2021 but never climbed the depth chart.
The 24-year-old Aiás played just one minute in the season-opening 0-0 draw against Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium on April 17, subbing on for Chris Mueller in the 91st minute and not logging any stats.
He contributed no goals or assists, didn’t take a shot, and attempted just two passes in his 13 minutes of play as a 77th-minute sub for Tesho Akindele in the Lions’ 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City on April 23.
Neither of his two pass attempts were accurate and he managed just five touches. He registered no defensive stats on the season, sustaining one foul without committing any and wasn’t booked in 2021.
Wearing number 19, he has appeared in 12 matches for manager Cuco Ziganda’s Real Oviedo, which currently sits eighth in the 22-team La Liga2 and is two points behind the last promotion qualification spot. He subbed on his first seven matches, but has started two of the last four league games for Oviedo. Aiás scored his only goal of the season in a 1-1 draw at CD Mirandes on Nov. 26.
Playing up top on the right in a 4-4-2 formation, he also started and played the entire match in Oviedo’s 2-1 loss to fourth-tier Andratx on Dec. 1 in the first round of Spain’s Copa del Rey competition.
Only because he logged a season-high 13 minutes on the pitch, Aiás’s performance in a 1-1 road draw at Sporting Kansas City on April 23 ranks as his best Orlando City appearance of 2021. It was not a memorable year in purple for the young striker.
2021 Final Grade
Because he played just 14 minutes in purple this season, The Mane Land staff gives Aiás an incomplete grade for 2021. He wasn’t able to make enough of an impact to get on the field even while Daryl Dike was out and Alexandre Pato was injured, which speaks to his current loan.
Orlando City has Aiás under contract through the 2022 season. His loan to Real Oviedo expires next summer but the Spanish club has an option to buy the contract at the conclusion of his loan. Now that he’s seeing more time on the pitch in Spain, Real Oviedo may decide to keep him. If not, he may return to Orlando City in the summer and provide attacking depth for the second half of the MLS campaign, although he would likely need some rest after a full La Liga 2 campaign.