ORLANDO, FL (December 18, 2017) – Stefano Pinho broke Orlando City SC‘s heart in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. Now, he’s officially a member of the club.
The Purple Lions signed the 26-year-old striker along with making two other transactions on Monday. They also acquired fullback RJ Allen from New York City FC in exchange for a third round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. In addition, Orlando also announced that they re-signed midfielder Dillon Powers.
Orlando City SC Signs Two-Time NASL Golden Boot Winner
Pinho found the back of the net with regularity for Miami FC in 2017, netting 17 goals en route to winning the NASL’s Golden Boot. It marked the second time Pinho claimed the award, taking it two years earlier with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers after registering 16 tallies.
Lions fans are well-aware of the Brazilian’s quality around goal. He scored a hat trick in Miami’s shock 3-1 win over Orlando City in the fourth round of the Open Cup. Though manager Jason Kreis trotted out a less than full strength side for the match, Pinho’s trifecta demonstrated his effectiveness as a natural goal-scorer.
Pinho continued his hot run of form in the next round of the tournament. His 37th minute goal played a part in Miami’s second straight takedown of an MLS club when they upended Atlanta United 3-2 in the round of 16. But the club’s run came to an end in the quarterfinals when they fell 1-0 to USL’s Cinderella club in the tourney, FC Cincinnati.
The native of Minas Gerais, Brazil holds a Green Card and as such will not occupy an international roster spot.
Forecasting His Role
Obviously the level of play Pinho will go up against in MLS is an upgrade over what he experienced in the NASL. And he’s certainly behind incumbent forwards such as Cyle Larin, Dom Dwyer and even Carlos Rivas on Orlando’s roster. But 38 goals in NASL play over the past three seasons is quite an accomplishment. With Larin a continued target of European clubs, there may yet be an opportunity for an enhanced role in the team’s attack should Larin eventually make the move across the pond. Regardless, the Lions are getting a proven goal-scorer that makes an already formidable crop of strikers that much deeper.