The core of Orlando City’s roster is currently built around youth. With all the signings over this past year, one of the most recent ones came towards the end of the USL Pro season. Taking advantage of the partnership with SL Benfica, Orlando City brought in two young Portugese players to play with the first team. One of those players was Valdomiro Tualungo Paulo Lameira, also known more commonly as Estrela.
This defensive midfielder impressed in his limited time with the Lions. Although only playing in eight games last season, Estrela was able to prove his worth, despite his young age. He worked well in tandem with Darwin Cerén in the holding midfield and looked comfortable playing within Adrian Heath’s system, familiarizing himself with it in the span of just a few weeks.
Before Estrela even took the field, Heath had scouted him and had some comments to WFTV’s Christian Bruey, saying that he "plays simple, but very aggressive and he tackles everything." Heath went on to compare the young Portugese player to former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, who was known for being a box-to-box midfielder in his years in the Premier League. If Estrela’s potential is anywhere close to Essien’s, the young midfielder could become a valuable asset for the Lions in years to come.
One big plus for Estrela is that he has gained experience playing not only with Benfica’s youth academy, but also with the Portuguese U-20 National Team. These experiences for such a young player can be influential to his growth and maturity on the field. The more chances he gets to train with the national team, as well as other overseas training stints, the more of a chance he has of becoming a very good player for the Lions.
In terms of next year, however, it is possible he could crack the starting lineup toward the latter parts of the season. It is also possible that, since he is only 19 years old, he could make a few trips up to Louisville to get some playing time with Orlando City’s USL Pro affiliate.
A lot of this is hard to predict, since the final roster is nowhere near to being completed. Where Estrela starts come March is completely dependent on what happens in the coming months with the roster building, mainly the Expansion Draft.
With all that being said, Estrela has a very bright future ahead of him at Orlando City and his star continues to rise as we count down to March next year.