With the news that both Tally Hall and Josh Ford were cut from the Orlando City SC roster this week, it appears that Adrian Heath’s team are looking to quickly strengthen the goalkeeping department with the capture of Benfica B’s 20-year-old stopper Thierry Graça.
According to a report from Portuguese source Record, Graça is expected to put pen to paper on a five-year deal at the Citrus Bowl in January with the Portuguese club then receiving half his transfer fee if he’s sold on thereafter.
Following the appointment of Armando Carneiro as Chief Soccer Officer at City in October, it’s clearly apparent that the former director of development at Benfica is wasting no time in wielding his influence with his setting up of a transfer passageway between both the Portuguese giants and Orlando.
Graça himself has already made a friendly appearance for the Lions with Heath handing a start to the young Cape Verdean in the high-profile end-of-season friendly against Flamengo at the Maracanã earlier this month.
Despite Carneiro not having been around in 2014, City boast some previous history in landing players from the Portuguese giants’ reserve ranks of course with both Rafael Ramos and Estrela signing for the Lions’ USL ranks last year.
(Video Credit: videodesporto)
The 6 ft 4 in Graça hails from the island of Cape Verde and was a UEFA Youth League Runner-up with Benfica B in 2013/14 whereby they fell 3-0 to Barcelona but is highly inexperienced at the senior level.
With just Earl Edwards Jr and young Mason Stajduhar on City’s books right now in the goalkeeping department, it appears some Lions supporters share some concerns over his proposed signature and the lack of an experienced stopper on the roster following Hall’s exit.
Here’s what Lions fans are saying on Twitter…
I feel OCSC supporters have a right to be cautious with our new approach/roster building methods under Flavio & his chosen one Carneiro.
— Chris (@OrlandoCountySC) November 28, 2015
So this Thierry Graça guy, got some big shoes to fill.
— City Beautiful Game (@citybeautifulsc) November 28, 2015
I was just told Graça was a seasoned player. Piss off Benfica homers pic.twitter.com/jNcoaR2Fkh
— Shenanigans (@Rays1299) November 27, 2015