Orlando City has transferred Matheus Aias to Racing Club de Santander in Spain’s Segunda Division. The Lions signed Aias a little under two years ago in August 2020, but he never really saw much of the field for OCSC. It was originally thought that he could be a depth option at the striker position, but that never panned out and his time with Orlando is now over.
“We wish Matheus nothing but the best as he makes this next move in his career,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We look forward to seeing all that he accomplishes in this new venture.”
While Orlando City did not disclose the terms of the deal, Racing Club announced that he joined the team on a three-year deal.
OCSC brought Aias in from Watford during the summer transfer window of the 2020 MLS season when an injury to Dom Dwyer meant that the Lions were looking perilously thin at striker. It was believed that Aias joined on a free transfer after leaving Watford, although Orlando City did indicate that the club paid an undisclosed fee to secure his services. The emergence of Daryl Dike meant that he found it difficult to get on the field, and made four appearances for a total of 19 minutes during his debut season, although he did score a goal when a free kick deflected off him in stoppage time of a 4-1 win over Atlanta United.
The 2021 season wasn’t much kinder to him, as he still was unable to see substantial playing time — even with the absences of Daryl Dike and Alexandre Pato. He ultimately made two appearances in the the Lions’ first two games, for a total of 15 minutes, before being loaned out to Real Oviedo.
Due to his low number of minutes in each of his seasons in purple, The Mane Land gave him an ‘incomplete’ end-of-season grade for 2020 or 2021, and his brief time on the field made it very difficult to get a read on the type of player he was and what he might be able to bring to the team.
What it Means for Orlando City
Frankly, it doesn’t change much. Aias hasn’t been with the team since July 4 of last year, and he hadn’t played a match since even earlier than that. Since he’d been on loan with Real Oveido, the club had already gotten its international roster slot back, so his departure doesn’t change anything there. What it does do is provide a little bit of clarity with regards to Orlando’s forward situation. There wasn’t much of a chance that he would be recalled to provide some depth at the position, but that minute chance has now been officially eliminated.
Similar to the signing of Silvester van der Water, the acquisition of Aias was a move that had potential to bear fruit for the Lions and simply never did. Sometimes it’s good to take a swing on a young player, but you aren’t going to hit every ball out of the park. Hopefully Aias will now be able to have a successful career elsewhere, and Orlando City will be able to bring in some reinforcements during the summer window.