Union add Benfica center back Steven Vitoria


The Union promised offseason additions and they didn’t disappoint on Monday, signing 6-foot-5 center back Steven Vitoria on loan from Benfica of Portugal’s Primeira Liga.

The Union have an option to buy Vitoria's contract at the end of the 2015 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re excited to bring Steven in and feel he is an excellent fit for the club,” Union technical director Chris Albright said.

“He has the ability and experience to make an instant impact for us and is a player we’re expecting big things from.”

The 28-year-old, born in Toronto but raised Portuguese, began his career in 2006 with FC Porto before moving to clubs like Tourizense, Olhanense, Covilhã and Estoril. He eventually landed at Benfica in 2013. However, Vitoria struggled to find time with his latest club, playing seven matches with Benfica B and just one with the first-team.

Right-footed Vitoria is known for his free-kick and penalty kick ability and will take over the center back position left vacant by Carlos Valdes, who was loaned to Uruguay Nacional in early February.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to join Philadelphia Union,” Vitoria said. “I’m ready to come in and contribute any way I can to help this club win games.”

The move for Vitoria likely sets Maurice Edu at his natural position as defensive midfielder for the Union. Edu, who flipped between center back and midfield last year, was expected to play whichever position the Union didn’t add to this preseason.

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