One of the more frustrating things about the rash of knocks that hit Orlando City in the middle of the 2020 season was that Matheus Aias had been signed but the time it took his international paperwork to come through and for him to be medically cleared was abnormally long.
Aias signed a two-and-a-half year deal on Aug. 21 but did not see the field for Orlando City until Oct. 24 at Inter Miami — a delay of 64 (!) days. In fact, it was more than a month after the signing that Orlando City announced Aias would undergo further medical evaluation. It was an unusual announcement by the club in an already abnormal year.
So, how did the striker fare in his brief 2020 season with Orlando?
Aias appeared in four matches — all off the bench — in 2020, playing a total of just 18 minutes. That’s an average of 4.5 minutes per appearance. He took one shot, which was on target, and scored a goal, with no assists. He committed no fouls, nor sustained any. He finished with a 71.4% passing rate, averaging 1.8 passes per game and he had one tackle.
The 23-year-old’s best game stands out clearly but there’s honestly little to choose from. Two of his four appearances were for just one single minute and another was a five-minute run-out. In his best match, Aias played 11 whole minutes on Oct. 28 vs. Atlanta in a 4-1 Orlando City win. He scored his first MLS goal, although he knew little about it. A free kick taken by Sebas Mendez hit defender Fernando Meza then ricocheted off Aias, changing direction and trickling in past Brad Guzan. That accounted for Aias’ lone “shot” of the season.
2020 Final Grade
Given his limited games and minutes played, The Mane Land staff has to give Aias an incomplete grade for the season. The long delay in getting him on the field no doubt contributed to him not seeing many minutes, as he didn’t have time to truly integrate into the team and gain Oscar Pareja’s trust for more playing time.
From what our sources have told us, Aias was expected to come to Orlando in the off-season after 2020, but the opportunity came to get him earlier and the club took it. Aias will almost certainly be a bigger contributor in 2021 after having a chance to go through preseason with his teammates. He’s a young and somewhat raw striker but he has potential. I would look for him to be a bench option who can provide some spot starts when needed next year.