A couple weeks after rumors began to float around that Orlando City was nearing the signing of Ramiro Enrique from Argentina top-flight side Club Atlético Banfield, the Lions sealed the deal today. The 21-year-old forward joins OCSC as an MLS U22 Initiative signing, and has put pen to paper on a three-year deal that has option years for 2026 and 2027. In keeping with club policy, the transfer fee was not disclosed, and the contract finalization is reliant on the completion of a medical exam and receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
Enrique becomes the team’s third U22 Initiative player, joining Gaston Gonzalez and Cesar Araujo. As is the case with lots of South American transfers these days, Cesar Luis Merlo first reported on the move just over two weeks ago.
“We are excited to welcome Ramiro to our club ahead of the 2023 season, as we look to complete our roster and contend for more championships,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Ramiro is a very mobile and fast attacker that can create many opportunities in the attacking third. His versatility at the top of the formation gives us a ton of options to be creative in the attack and we can’t wait to get him integrated into the group.”
Enrique came up through Banfield’s academy system and inked his first professional contract back in 2019. He made his professional debut just over two years ago on Feb. 12, 2021 and went on to make 73 appearances for Banfield across all competitions. In that time, he scored 12 goals and notched three assists and has experience in the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s version of the Europa League.
What it Means for Orlando City
Enrique is described by Transfermarkt as a right-footed center forward, but it’s worth noting that Luiz Muzzi highlighted his versatility and ability to play several different positions. Depending on how soon he’s able to join the club for preseason and get comfortable with his new surroundings, he might be the first guy off the bench to relieve Ercan Kara, or that distinction could go to Shakur Mohammed or Duncan McGuire, who will have had a full preseason to get up to speed but lack professional experience. Either way, he gives Orlando a backup forward with professional experience — something that the club had been lacking since the departures of Tesho Akindele, Benji Michel, and Alexandre Pato through transfer and retirement.
The Argentinian will require an international slot.
Standing 5-foot-7, he doesn’t exactly help the Lions in the height department, and like fellow Argentinian signing Martin Ojeda, don’t look for him to be winning a ton of balls in the air. Mohammed is listed at 5-foot-10 and Duncan at 6-foot-1, so if the Lions are chasing a game late and are looking to lump some balls forward, Duncan or 6-foot-1 Jack Lynn may be the one getting the call off the bench.
The arrival of Enrique now makes the forward position five deep, with Kara as the starter and Enrique, Lynn, Mohammed, and McGuire all duking it out behind him. Given that he has several years of professional experience, Enrique presumably has the inside track on the backup role, but how soon he can join the club for preseason may also play a factor. While bringing in an MLS veteran at forward isn’t completely out of the question, Enrique’s signing makes it less likely, particularly when coupled with how high Mohammed and McGuire were selected in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, and the way that Muzzi and Oscar Pareja have spoken about the two.
Here’s a taste of what Enrique is capable of on the field: