Update: Since the story below dropped this morning, Orlando City made the signing of Mauricio Pereyra official this afternoon. The transfer is pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa.
“As a club we are always looking to strengthen our roster and Mauricio fits the mold of what we look for in a new acquisition. We have important matches on the horizon both in league play and U.S. Open Cup competition, and we feel Mauricio will make an impact for us as we close out the 2019 campaign,” Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said. “The move also makes sense when you look at the roster flexibility and player designations for 2020.”
The Mane Land has confirmed through reliable sources that Orlando City is set to sign Uruguayan midfielder Mauricio Pereyra. The 29-year-old midfielder will initially take up Orlando’s open Designated Player spot — freed up by the loan of Josué Colmán to Club Cerro Porteño in June — and the club will transition him to a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) player next season. Pereyra’s deal is expected to run through the end of the 2020 MLS season.
The story was first reported online by Uruguayan journalist Martin Charquero last night.
Mauricio Pereyra está a punto de firmar contrato con Orlando City. El futbolista está viajando para Estados Unidos. pic.twitter.com/bSMCT8k4dG— Martin Charquero (@MartinCharquero) July 29, 2019
The midfielder was out of contract and considering some offers in Spain before opting to sign with Orlando City. He is expected to sign the deal as early as today. Pereyra is a player that the Lions have been keeping an eye on, as our sources indicated he was on the club’s discovery list. The team has little cap flexibility for 2019, so this will likely be City’s final addition of the summer transfer window.
Pereyra played most recently for FC Krasnodar in Russia, where he played in 154 games from 2013-2019, scoring 24 goals with 24 assists, per WhoScored.com. His passing rate was just 77%, but it’s difficult to know much from that number without knowing much about Krasnodar’s style of play or how good his teammates were. Krasnodar finished fifth in the Russian Premier League in Pereyra’s first season there, and since then has finished third or fourth every season.
He made his debut with Nacional in his native city of Montevideo back in 2009 in a Copa Libertadores qualifier. While with Nacional from 2009-2011, Pereya appeared in 45 matches, scoring three goals. He was sold to Argentinian side Club Atlético Lanús for $1.3 million in August of 2011 and went on to make 47 appearances with Lanús from 2011-2013, scoring three goals. A former Uruguayan youth international, Pereya earned 12 caps with his country’s U-20 side.
What it Means for Orlando City
Said to be a good locker room leader, Pereya will add more creativity and vision to Orlando City’s midfield. He will require an international slot. At only 5-foot-7, Pereyra won’t be winning many aerial duels in the box or in the midfield. He’s also not the strongest finisher in front of goal.
However, what Orlando’s midfield is missing is a creative player who can both win the ball back and then unlock defenses with a single pass in much the same manner that Yoshimar Yotún could. His strengths are his chance creation, passing, defensive ability, and long-range shots. He’s also a good set piece taker, giving the Lions an additional option there.
Pereyra’s addition is exactly what Orlando needs. You can never really anticipate how a player will jell with a new team or in a new environment, but the fact that he has already transitioned to Argentina and then to Russia would seem to indicate an ability to adjust to new surroundings. He’ll need to get used to his teammates quickly to have an impact in 2019, as sometimes playing the right pass can be a turnover instead of an assist if a teammate isn’t ready for it or expecting it.
If the Uruguayan works out well, this signing could be the difference between finishing just below the playoff line or sneaking over it. If not, well, it’s not a long-term commitment.
Here is a video package showing what the Uruguayan can do: