Orlando City continued to add depth to its attacking line heading into the 2021 MLS season, announcing the signing of Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal.
“We are very excited to welcome Pato to Orlando. He’s a veteran player who has featured at some of the top clubs around the world and has a proven track record at the international level. The experience that Pato brings with him will be invaluable to the Club,” Orlando City EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a statement. “Pato is a high-calibre player and we’re excited to add another great target up top.”
The 31-year-old free agent last played for Brazilian club São Paulo, but his career includes several high profile stops, most notably Italian side AC Milan, Premier League side Chelsea and La Liga’s Villarreal. Pato also spent two years in the Chinese Super League playing with Tianjin Tianhai F.C from 2017-2019 where he scored 30 goals in 47 league appearances.
Pato will not take up a Designated Player spot, but Targeted Allocated Money (TAM) could be used to pay down his salary — according to a report from The Mane Land.
The acquisition of Pato adds depth to Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s already deep attacking line. With Daryl Dike out on-loan at English Championship side Barnsley until possibly the end of May, the Lions’ forward depth chart includes Tesho Akindele, Matheus Aias, draftee Derek Dodson, and now Pato. Add the attacking wingers in Nani, Chris Mueller, Benji Michel, and Alexander Alvarado along with attacking midfielder Mauricio Pereyra and versatile mids Junior Urso and Andres Perea — and Pareja has a plethora of options to at his disposal ahead a busy 2021 season.
Major League Soccer announced an updated start date to the season, which will now kickoff on April 17, with players reporting for preseason March 1.
Current Orlando City Roster heading into preseason camp on March 8
Goalkeeper (3): Pedro Gallese, Mason Stajduhar (HG), Brandon Austin.
Defenders (7): Kyle Smith, Ruan, João Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday (HG).
Midfielders (8): Oriol Rosell, Jhegson Sebastián Méndez, Andrés Perea, Mauricio Pereyra (DP), David Loera (HG), Jordan Bender (HG), Júnior Urso, Joey DeZart.
Forwards (7): Nani (c, DP), Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, Benji Michel (HG), Daryl Dike, Matheus Aiás, Alexander Alvarado, Alexandre Pato.
Out on loan
Daryl Dike – Short term loan to Barnsley FC (EFL Championship)
MLS Super Draft Picks (Invited to preseason camp)
F- Derek Dodson – Selected at No. 8 from Georgetown
D – Rio Hope-Gund – Selected at No. 19 from Georgetown
D – Brandon Hackenberg – Selected at No. 22 from Penn State
GK – Andrew Pannenberg – Selected at No. 49 from Wake Forest
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