As first reported by Franco Panizo and later confirmed by MLS sources of Jordan Culver of ProSoccerUSA, Orlando City has signed Peru international center back and defensive midfielder Carlos Ascues on loan from Alianza Lima. The loan is for the remainder of the 2018 season with an option to extend it for 12 additional months. Ascues will be available once his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 visa are received.
“Carlos brings valuable experience from Europe and South America,” said Orlando City General Manager Niki Budalic in a club press release. “He fits the profile we’re looking for in a defender, and we also value his versatility to be able to play in the midfield. We welcome him to Orlando and look forward to his contributions.”
Orlando City’s summer transfer window was extremely quiet. The Lions signed center back Shane O’Neill on June 21 and traded winger Justin Meram back to the Columbus Crew. With left back, left wing, and a secondary striker as team needs, it was strange that they made no signings in these areas but it appears the club has found help for a depleted central defense that has been plagued with injuries throughout the season.
Since the window closed, there were persistent rumors of potential signings by Orlando City. Ascues, 26, was the most publicly rumored player to be heading to the Sunshine State. That became official today, although Alianza Lima and Ascues each posted social media messages about his departure from Peru’s top flight several days ago, and the Peruvian club specifically stated he was leaving for Orlando City.
The club’s social media post translates as, “We wish you the best successes in your new team @orlandocitysc to our former champion with blue and white last year. Thanks for everything, @carlos.ascues!”
Ascues is an interesting signing for Orlando as he plays center back and defensive midfielder, and will also take up an international spot. The Lions currently have no available international spots so they will have to part ways with an international player, unless someone has earned their green card recently.
The 26-year-old will be a familiar face to current Lion Yoshimar Yotún. Ascues has 20 international caps, scoring five goals, however he has not played for Peru since March of 2016. His international debut came on Aug. 7, 2014 against Panama. Ascues bagged a brace, scoring just before the end of each half in a 3-0 win.
Ascues came through the Alianza Lima youth system before signing with the first team in 2010. From there, he moved to eight different clubs, including loan stints, in Germany, Peru, Greece, and Portugal prior to returning to Alianza Lima. His most notable club was Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg, though he only played one match with them.
Alianza Lima were crowned champions of the Peruvian First Division last season, but the 6-foot-2 defender only played in 13 league matches and four in the Copa Libertadores in 2018.
Everyone looks good in their highlight videos, but this is a glimpse of what Ascues can bring to Orlando City: