Carlos Rivas and Cristian Higuita, both players with Deportivo Cali in the Colombian Premier League, will join the club pending final paperwork. It's been rumored that Rivas would join Orlando for over a month now, as we've reported on numerous occasions. However, the addition of Higuita was a surprise to most, breaking only when Huguita posted a picture to Twitter of him and Rivas in Orlando Jerseys on Thursday night.
Rivas is a 20-year-old attacking player who could slot into either the left wing role or as the center forward in Head Coach Adrian Heath's 4-2-3-1 formation. This raises the possibility that Heath may see U.S. International Brek Shea in the left fullback role to make room for Rivas. It seems unlikely that Orlando would have spent so much money to have either Rochez or Rivas start on the bench.
Having drawn considerable attention from top European teams, the transfer fee for Rivas may have been in the $1.5 million range. This also raises the possibility that Rivas will be the clubs third Designated Player, joining Kaka and Rochez.
Higuita is less accomplished than Rivas, but still a solid prospect in his own right. The 20-year-old adds depth behind Amobi Okugo, Lewis Neal, and Darwin Ceren in the defensive midfield. He could also potentially move to Orlando's USL Pro affiliate, Louisville City FC, for additional playing time in his first season.
In a time when many MLS squads are bringing in seasoned veterans, Orlando City has shown a willingness to pursue top young prospects from around the globe. It's worth noting that players like Rivas and Rochez could command huge transfer fees in a year or two, which would also make them worthwhile investments for Orlando.