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Paulo André Spurns Lions; What Does it Mean for Orlando City?

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Losing out on the veteran Brazilian defender after failing to sign Heath Pearce puts the Lions in a bind.

Now we know why there was a delay in getting Paulo André signed. He (or his agent) was fielding offers for more money from teams in Brazil. Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel reported today that the veteran center back is going home rather than signing with Orlando City SC.

Despite initially coming to a verbal agreement with the team, Paulo André has opted to return to Brazil, a source with direct knowledge of the deal told the Sentinel. Orlando City could not compete with other offers the veteran defender received from his home country.

It's a shame, really. André was a seasoned veteran with a few good years left in him and a closet full of trophies from winning things in Brazil's top flight with Corinthians. He could have been a leader on and off the pitch. Word is that he spoke very good English. He would have been a fantastic mentor for Gustavo. But it's not happening.

What does it mean for Orlando City?

Well, the Lions are left looking for additional help at center back and they need another veteran presence. They failed to sign Heath Pearce and apparently weren't interested in an arms race for André. The season is only weeks away, so they can't afford to wait long and they can't afford to get the next one wrong.

Head Coach Adrian Heath is trying out different combinations on the back line, but his options are limited. Aurelien Collin is an MLS All-Star and will be counted on to play a lot of minutes. Aside from him, the club has only three true center backs -- Gustavo, youngster Tommy Redding, and SuperDraft selection Conor Donovan.

Complicating matters is the closing of the European transfer window, although City might be able to secure a loan deal. The club was once linked to Steven Gerrard's cousin, Anthony, a 29-year-old center back belonging to Huddersfield Town, but who has had difficulty making the first team in the past.

Gerrard, who has played with Hull City and Cardiff City and came up through the Everton Youth Academy, isn't the only option, but he would make sense. Orlando City has had dealings with Huddersfield Town before, through the loan acquisition of Martin Paterson.

Whoever it is, Orlando City needs to add depth in the middle of the back line. Aside from Collin, the club's center backs have a combined zero MLS appearances. That's a problem, but it's one the club is well aware of.

Expect new names to surface soon. Orlando City must add a center back, and it must do so quickly.