The Philadelphia Union had Steven Vitoria in spring training camp over the weekend, however, the deal was not completely done yet so they did not announce his arrival until Monday February 9. The move was able to be made after the move of Carlos Valdes and brings in another experienced player at Center Back to replace Valdes and allow Maurice Edu to remain as a defensive midfield player.
Vitoria comes to the Philadelphia Union playing last season for Portuguese club S.L. Benfica. He only made one appearance for them, however before Benfica, he played for G.D. Estoril Praia where he scored 19 goals in 79 appearances. He comes to the Union on loan from Benfica with an option to buy at the end of the 2015 season. Also of importance, is that the deal that brought him to the Union involved sending allocation money to Vancouver Whitecaps FC as the reports had come out after that Vancouver had placed a discovery claim on Vitoria last season but were unable to strike a deal.
A “discovery claim” is a claim that any MLS team could place on a player to keep other teams from signing that player. Even if the team who places the claim on the player does not sign that player, technically they hold his rights, so they usually require some sort of incentive to give up his rights to the team he wants to sign with. The amount of allocation money that Vancouver received from the Union for the rights to sign Vitoria is not specified, reports just say that there was money sent to Vancouver.
Vitoria saw his first minutes in a Union uniform as a part of Head Coach Jim Curtin’s starting XI for the match last evening versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a match which the Rowdies won 1-0 on a late penalty call. Steven played for the first 30 minutes of the match before being substituted out for Richie Marquez. After the match Curtin was quoted as saying that Vitoria seemed to fit in seamlessly with the team.
The Union will return to Philadelphia tomorrow, and then go back to play their final four preseason games at the IMG tournament in Bradenton, Florida. Three have been scheduled so far, with the fourth taking place after the three that are currently scheduled.