The acquisition of Avila was reported in an Orlando Sentinel story today, with Lions General Manager Paul McDonough cited as the source. McDonough told the paper that the midfielder -- who can also play fullback -- was passed on by 16 other MLS teams, but Orlando decided the player was too useful to pass up, and pounced.
Orlando City sat 17th in the allocation ranking and was not sure if Avila would fall that far, but the seven-year MLS veteran did and the Lions were quick to make a move.
The 5-foot-8 San Diego native spent the past two seasons with Chivas USA, where he scored three goals, with three assists, in 57 matches. He previously played with both Toronto FC and FC Dallas between 2008 and 2012, scoring five goals and assisting on 11 others in 96 games between the two teams. He has started 83 of his 153 career MLS games.
A move to Mexico's Liga MX side Santos Laguna apparently fell through, and, according to the Sentinel story:
Avila spent time on trial with Chivas de Guadalajara and Queretaro before signing with MLS.
Between 2003 and 2007, Avila appeared in 20 matches with the U-17 U.S. National team and 10 more with the U-20 squad. He was part of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton.
What does the 27-year-old Avila's addition mean to Orlando City?
Head Coach Adrian Heath adds a versatile player with more than 150 MLS games under his belt, so he provides added experience in the league to a very young team, without adding an "old guy." At 27, Avila should still be in his prime playing years and he'll be able to provide additional depth to multiple midfield spots or either fullback position.
With his experience and positional flexibility, Avila could be a valuable pick-up for the Lions.
UPDATE: The team has officially announced Avila's signing through the allocation process. Also, to read more about Avila's performance last season, Alicia Rodriguez over at The Goat Parade wrote this piece breaking down his move to right back.
UPDATE 2: Orlando City has announced that the acquisition of Avila through the allocation process was a loan deal. The length of the loan was not given, but we're assuming all of the 2015 MLS season. It is also unknown if this is a loan with an opportunity to buy the player later. The Lions must really have wanted Avila to sacrifice their allocation position for a loaned player. Granted, the club was only 17th and only fell three spots, but getting to the top of the allocation rankings can be quite time consuming.