Orlando City announced this afternoon the acquisition of Colombian midfielder Andrés Perea on a one-year loan from Atlético Nacional. The agreement for the 19-year-old features an option to buy after the 2020 MLS season.
Perea was born in Tampa but was raised in Colombia. As he holds dual citizenship, he will be a domestic player on Orlando City’s roster. The defensive midfielder made his senior team debut for Colombia’s biggest club in 2017 at the age of 17. In three years, he’s made 15 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal. His 11 appearances in 2019 is the most he’s made for the club’s senior team. At the international level, Perea has appeared for Colombia’s U-17 and U-19 teams, competing at both the U-17 FIFA World Cup and the U-20 FIFA World Cup.
“Andrés is an exciting young prospect who we’ve been tracking for a while,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “At a very young age, he already has experience playing for one of the most traditional teams in South American and has also represented Colombia in U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cups. We’re thrilled Andrés chose Orlando City as the next step in his career.”
There was speculation that the young defensive midfielder would be making the move last month after his coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, said he didn’t play in the team’s final league game as he might be making a move to MLS.
What it Means for Orlando City
Perea will be filling a void that has been left by his fellow countryman, Cristian Higuita. A member of Orlando City since 2015, Higuita departed the club after the 2019 season.
The Lions were down to just two defensive midfielders in Uri Rosell and Sebas Mendez after the off-season roster decisions were announced in November and the former was re-signed to a new deal. Perea fills a position of need that was actually Orlando’s deepest position group a year ago.
It’s helpful that Perea will not cost an international slot. But the question is whether the teenager can step in and be productive. The Lions have not had the best luck with signing young players from South and Central America over their first five years, failing to find success with Carlos Rivas, Bryan Rochez, and Josué Colmán so far.