Orlando City officially announced the signing of 21-year-old Ecuadorian winger Alexander Alvarado on loan from Sociedad Deportiva Aucas in Ecuador’s Serie A. The loan is through the end of the 2020 season with an option to buy.
On Sunday The Mane Land confirmed internet reports of Alvarado’s impending signing and clarified the terms of the loan through the end of this season with the option to purchase. The team made it official today and Alvarado will wear No. 22 for the Lions once his international transfer certificate and P-1 visa are received.
Alvarado will also need to go through a mandatory MLS quarantine period before joining the Lions for training.
“Alexander possesses a great amount of versatility, able to play on the left, on the right or at the center,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We’re excited to welcome another young, dynamic addition to our team and think he has a bright future ahead of him. We look forward to seeing what he can add to our already competitive roster.”
Rumors of the move circulated online over the weekend, but there were some inaccuracies in the reporting. Some online reports stated OCSC had bought Alvarado outright on a four-year deal. The reports also stated that S.D. Aucas would retain 50% of sell-on rights but it is our understanding that is not correct. However, a sell-on percentage could be retained by S.D. Aucas as part of the purchase should there be one at the end of 2020.
The Quevedo, Ecuador native has played with Aucas in his country’s Serie A since 2018, scoring a goal and adding four assists this season in 13 league matches this season. He also has a goal in two Copa Sudamericana appearances in 2020. Prior to joining Aucas he spent time in S.D. Quito’s system. Since 2015, Alvarado has scored six goals with 14 assists across 89 appearances in all competitions at the club level per Transfermarkt.
He has international experience with the Ecuador U-20s, scoring four goals in 17 matches, and already has been capped twice with the senior national team, notching his first international assist at the senior level on Sept. 11, 2019. He was part of the 2019 Ecuador U-20 side that won the South American championship and finished third at the U-20 World Cup.
What it Means for Orlando City
Alvarado fits the profile for what the Lions have sought since Luiz Muzzi — and later Oscar Pareja — joined the club. He’s young, with good upside and low-risk, as the Lions don’t have to exercise the option to purchase. Orlando City has made great use of loan deals previously on players like Ruan, Antonio Carlos, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Andres Perea.
He’s short — around 5-foot-5, depending on where you look online — but can play on either wing, with good power from either foot. Muzzi’s assertion that he can also play in the middle means he could become a viable backup for Mauricio Pereyra as well. As such, he fills a need for Orlando City, which is a bit thin on the wings behind the formidable trio of Nani, Chris Mueller, and Benji Michel.
The Lions will now evaluate Alvarado for the rest of this season and determine whether or not to make the purchase. It’s anyone’s guess how long the immigration paperwork will take, as it always seems to be interminably long for Orlando City players, and he will require an international slot, so there may need to be another minor move to accommodate the signing before he can play.
This is a player Pareja can develop over time and perhaps end up being sold down the line to a European club.
Here is a highlights package showing what the young Ecuadorian can do: