Union sign Steven Vitoria on loan

The center back will play outside of Portugal for the first time in his career after Philadelphia acquired him on a loan deal from Benfica.

The Philadelphia Union are bringing defender Steven Vitoria back to North America, a decade after he first went abroad.

The center back was born in Toronto to Portuguese immigrants and was signed by Porto when he was 18. Now 28, Vitoria has never played for a club outside Portugal but will get his chance with the Union signing him on loan from Benfica through the end of the season.

“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.”

Vitoria, who is known for his penalty-kick ability in addition to his defending, represented Portugal at the youth level but never made a senior team appearance and retains eligibility for the Canadian national team.

The Union will have the option to buy Vitoria's contract at the end of the season. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed, with the team citing team and league policy.