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Orlando City Trades Midfielder Andres Perea to Philadelphia Union

In return for Perea, Orlando City receives $750,000 in General Allocation Money split across two seasons.

MLS: US Open Cup-Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City announced today that Andres Perea has been traded to the Philadelphia Union for $750,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). The club receives $450,000 in 2023 GAM and $300,000 more in 2024. The club will also receive an additional $100,000 in GAM if certain conditions are met and will receive a portion of his future transfer fee should the Union sell him.

“Andrés has been a vital piece for us these past three seasons and played an important role in winning our first trophy this past year,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We want to thank him for his contributions to the club’s achievements and wish him the best moving forward.”

Perea initially joined the Lions on Dec. 9, 2019 on loan from Colombian side Atletico Nacional, chipping in two assists in 23 games (11 starts) in his first MLS season. Following that season, Orlando City made the deal permanent, bringing the Tampa native back to the United States. The club exercised its option on Perea after the 2022 MLS season.

In his three seasons with Orlando City, Perea made 86 appearances in all competitions, with 37 starts, and accumulated 4,127 minutes. He scored four goals and provided three assists splitting his playing time as a defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder. Of his four career goals in competitive play with Orlando City, three of them came against the Union — Sept. 10, 2022 in a 5-1 road loss, May 10, 2022 in a home U.S. Open Cup win, and July 22, 2021 in a 2-1 home win. The 22-year-old Colombian was primarily a reserve during his three seasons in the City Beautiful, getting his most starts in 2021, when he started 16 games in 27 appearances.

The acquisition of Cesar Araujo and decision to move Mauricio Pereyra back to a deeper position on the field saw the young U.S. international get even less time in the starting lineup. This past season, Perea made 14 appearances (seven starts), playing 799 minutes — the first time he’d dropped under 1,000 minutes in a season since arriving.

Perea’s play in Orlando earned him a rating of 6 out of 10 for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons from The Mane Land staff but that rating dropped to a 5 in 2022. Being asked to replace Pereyra didn’t work well and even defensively he was less consistent in 2022, although that can happen with less consistent playing time.

In addition to playing for Orlando City, Perea represented the U.S. Men’s National Team after making a one-time switch from Colombia in January 2021. He made his debut on Jan. 31, 2021 at Exploria Stadium as a substitute in a 7-0 thrashing of Trinidad & Tobago. He was named to the U-23 team for the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and appeared in all four games, starting three.

What This Means for Orlando City

Whether this is a good deal for Orlando City largely depends on how Perea does in Philadelphia. He’s still young at 22 years old and has time to develop but has received fewer and fewer minutes with the club since arriving. He made a base salary of $240,000 in 2022 per the MLS Players Association, earning a total guaranteed compensation of $248,500.

The club is receiving a lot of GAM for a player who only made seven starts this past season and wasn’t the first player off the bench. If certain unspecified conditions are met, that amount could increase to give the club $850,000 in GAM. Additionally, they’ll receive a portion of his sell-on fee should the midfielder be dealt later on, something Muzzi has gotten in some trades in the past.

In the short term, the money received can be used by the Lions to buy down a current player’s contract or bring a new player into the league. As a result, the club could use this money to keep goalkeeper Pedro Gallese in purple, the biggest need for the club at the moment. It could also be used to bring in a high-quality player to replace the recently-departed Junior Urso or Facundo Torres when he eventually moves to Europe.

This move depletes the midfield a bit, so a replacement will need to be brought in. Felipe Martins was added after the departure of Junior Urso, so that was no net change in the number of club midfielders. Recent Homegrown signing Favian Loyola may not be ready to help out in that area.