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Orlando City acquires defender RJ Allen from NYCFC, signs two more

Orlando City acquired RJ Allen, left, from NYCFC on Monday. (Jacob Langston / Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando City made its first moves toward building a new roster for 2018 with three signings Monday.

The Lions acquired defender RJ Allen from New York City FC in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. The club also signed forward Stéfano Pinho, a former North American Soccer League player with Miami FC, and re-signed midfielder Dillon Powers after declining his option at the end of the 2017 season.

“We are pleased to add these three players as we begin to build out our 2018 roster,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement released Monday. “Both RJ and Dillon are experienced and proven in MLS, while Stefano is an exciting attacking player with a good track record in NASL we feel can transition to MLS.”

Allen, 27, is a defender who played under Orlando City coach Jason Kreis while at NYCFC in 2015. He’s started 42 of 53 regular-season appearances since then, scoring one goal and totaling 11 assists.

In 2017, he made 10 starts in 15 appearances for three assists.

The New Jersey native played for Monmouth University before now-defunct MLS club Chivas USA drafted him in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. He instead signed with Skive IK in the Danish second division, kicking off his professional career in 2013.

Pinho, 26, led the NASL with 17 goals and scored four goals in the U.S. Open Cup, three of which came in Miami FC’s 3-1 victory to eliminate Orlando City in the fourth round of the competition.

The Brazilian striker was the NASL’s Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner for the second time this year. The first awards came in 2015 when he played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers alongside current Lions defender Victor “PC” Giro, who followed a similar path to MLS. PC scored a game-winner to knock Orlando City out of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup and was the club’s first signing of 2017.

Pinho has a Green Card so will not occupy an international roster slot.

In July, Orlando City traded Luis Gil to the Colorado Rapids for Dillon Powers, 26. He made four starts and six appearances for the Lions before the club declined his contract option. He re-signs on a two year contract with an option for a third year.

The signings are a relief for Orlando City fans, who have impatiently waited for movement after the club was one of the first to announce its end-of-season roster adjustments — including contract options exercised or declined, free agency players and contracts and loans expired — at the beginning of November.

Significant movement is expected to continue into the new year.




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