Widely viewed as depth signings following a disappointing 2017 campaign, R. J. Allen arrives in exchange for Orlando’s 2018 MLS SuperDraft third-round pick.
As for Stéfano Pinho, he joins our beloved franchise after a hugely successful 2017 season at Florida rivals Miami FC where he claimed his second NASL Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards.
Who is R. J. Allen?
Aged 27 and hailing from Old Bridge Township, New Jersey, R. J. (short for Robert James) Allen is a right back by trade and experienced within Major League Soccer.
Spending the last three full MLS campaigns with New York City FC, the interesting fact is that R. J. Allen is a player Jason Kreis knows well having signed him ahead of NYCFC’s inaugural season in 2015.
— RJ Allen (@RJ_allen27) December 19, 2017
Starting 42 of 53 regular season appearances for the Yankee Stadium outfit since 2015, R. J. Allen registered six assists in 2016 – a league high for a defender – so he certainly likes to attack.
Where will R. J. Allen fit in?
Quickly becoming a fan favourite following his first ever season in Major League Soccer, twice-capped Swiss international Sutter was a mainstay at right back, making 32 appearances in 2017.
Scott Sutter has been training back in his native Switzerland at former club BSC Young Boys this off-season and should only improve further after a strong first season in Central Florida.
Earning a positive reputation with Lions fans for his energy up and down the right flank as well as his good crossing accuracy, he was one of the Lions’ success stories in a poor 2017.
Right now, R. J. Allen looks likely to be his backup next season but aged 27 and a regular in his time at New York City FC, he provides healthy competition.
Who is Stéfano Pinho
Now going from minor to major in trading NASL for Major League Soccer, Stéfano Pinho will hope to emulate those before him such as Kevin Molino and Christian Ramirez who handled the step up in class with ease.
The signs are positive however with Stéfano Pinho earning the NASL Golden Ball this year after scoring an impressive 17 goals in 27 appearances for Alessandro Nesta’s Miami FC.
Where will Stéfano Pinho fit in?
Prior to Dom Dwyer‘s arrival midway through last season, Orlando City SC were very light in attacking options, particularly since Júlio Baptista‘s exit, so it’s reassuring that Stéfano Pinho has boosted our number of forwards at least.
With Orlando City SC General Manager Niki Budalic admitting there could be as many as 12 new faces arriving this winter, you’d hope that a marquee striker may arrive – but that might only occur if Larin departs.
At present, available forwards include Dom Dwyer, Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas and Stéfano Pinho but with the former two players’ futures yet to be decided, Rivas infuriatingly inconsistent and Pinho untested in MLS, you’d hope there is more to come.