Orlando City SC, Estrela part ways

Estrela 1

(Alex Menendez / Getty Images North America)

Orlando City Soccer Club have released Portuguese midfielder Estrela, the club announced Saturday.

The 20-year-old signed with Orlando City in 2014 during the team’s tenure in the United Soccer League. Estrela was part of Orlando City’s inaugural Major League Soccer squad in 2015, but never made a regular-season appearance in the purple kits.

“We’d like to thank Estrela for his contributions to the club during our final USL season and inaugural Major League Soccer campaign,” Orlando City SC head coach Adrian Heath said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck.”

The announcement comes after reports in Italy linked AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino to several MLS clubs, including Orlando City.

With Estrela out of the picture, Orlando City has nine of 10 international slots open, which leaves room for the Lions to pursue the Italian.

However, according to Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel, acquiring Nocerino could bring some conflict in the Lions’ heavy midfield.

OCSC could have loaned Estrela down to Orlando City B of the USL, but that squad also has its own midfield stacked already.

Orlando City have nine midfielders at their disposal:

MIDFIELDERS (9): Ricardo Kaká (DP), Kevin Molino, Servando Carrasco, Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Harrison Heath (HGP), Pedro Ribeiro, Adrian Winter, Richie Laryea

The Lions play their first preseason game on Sunday, Feb. 7, against Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne in a closed-door game. The time of the game has yet to be announced.

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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