Orlando City announces the signing of U-22 Initiative player Ramiro Enrique

Via Orlando City

Orlando City has officially announced the signing of Argentine forward Ramiro Enrique as an U-22 Initiative player on a three-year contract through 2025, with club options in 2026 and 2027.

The 21-year-old joins Orlando from CA Banfield in Argentina on a transfer reportedly worth around $2 million plus add-ons, marking yet another marquee addition to the Lions’ re-loaded attack this winter.

“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,” said Orlando City General Manager Luiz Muzzi in a team 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, who is primarily a center-forward but can move out to the wings when needed, has compiled nearly 4,000 minutes with the Banfield first team since making his debut in early 2021, notching 12 goals and three assists in 71 appearances across all competitions.

“Still early on in his professional career, he had a great season with Banfield and we are excited to be able to progress and elevate his skills here in Orlando,” Said Muzzi. “He is able to play a few different positions on the field and creates space both for himself and his teammates making him difficult to defend against. Ramiro is a great acquisition for us and we are excited to have him here.”

What it means for Orlando City

Enrique adds immediate depth behind starting striker and Designated Player Ercan Kara, assuming that Oscar Pareja sticks with a single striker style of play that we saw last season. His age and the money that the Lions would be investing to make this signing signal a long-term approach to his role with the club as a u-22 signing, with the hope that Orlando could sell him for a decent return down the road.

In the immediate future, however, he’ll also add a bit of pressure to Kara’s performance this season. Kara, who has two more guaranteed years left on his current contract (with club options for 2025 and 2026), scored 12 goals with three assists in 33 appearances across all comps last season — a solid year to be sure, but his play over the course of the year left some to be desired at times.

At the very least, with Orlando competing on four different fronts this season there will be plenty of squad rotation for Enrique to show his potential. Signings of young players can take time to reach their full potential of course, especially when those players are leaving their home countries for the first time. Orlando has seen its share of failures before — Bryan Rochez and Carlos Rivas, just to name a couple — but Enrique finds himself now among of a group of players in the same boat, with Facundo Torres (22), Gaston Gonzalez (21), and Cesar Araujo (21), also a u-22 signing.

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