The Philadelphia Union are close to signing S.L. Benfica center back Steven Vitoria, according to Kevin Kinkead of CBS Philly. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Vitoria headed to Portugal to play for FC Porto's youth team, and has played for several teams in Portugal before landing at Benfica. However, playing time has been sparse for the defender, leading to rumors of an exit.
So what do we know about this Canadian-Portuguese defender that could possibly be wearing a Union kit in 2015? Well first, he is 6' 5" which is a huge plus for the Union as they have struggled to defend set pieces in recent years. Despite his size, he also has quite the knack for scoring goals, having scored 19 of them in his time with Estoril of the Portuguese first division. It's worth noting that Vitoria played as a striker during his youth career before being converted to a center back. Bear in mind that many of those goals with Estoril were penalties, but it is still impressive to see a central defender that is so skilled in set pieces.
Seeing as this deal is not official yet, the terms are therefore a bit of an unknown at this point. The consensus seems to be that this will be a loan with an option to buy. It appeared that the only thing stopping this deal from moving forward was the Carlos Valdes loan and on the day Valdes joins Nacional, this story gets leaked so it appears to have some validity.
This is a really exciting move if it does indeed happen. The Union would be a getting a tall, strong center back who can score goals in the run of play and from set pieces. Sure, he may not be the striker that the squad needs, but center back was a clear area of need and it appears that it has been addressed. It seems that the dominos are beginning to fall for this team and signings are finally coming