The Los Angeles Football Club filled out its roster of designated players Tuesday by reaching agreement on a contract with Portuguese midfielder Andre Horta.
A 21-year-old midfielder, Horta is playing on loan with Braga of the Portuguese first division, where he has appeared in 15 league matches, scoring one goal and assisting on six.
“He’s an exciting young player,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “He has a good way of moving. His passing — short, long — all good. [He] gives you an ability to control games.
“So a lot of good things.”
Under MLS rules, teams are allowed a maximum of three designated players whose salaries can exceed the league maximum of $504,375. Horta joins forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi as LAFC’s third DP. The club did not release details of the contract, but a league source said Horta agreed to a multi-year deal worth just less than $1.5-million per season.
Exactly when Horta will join the team remains a question, however. He is under contract with Benfica of the Portuguese Liga but has been on loan with Braga, for whom he has been utilized as a reserve for most of the season.
When an injury opened a spot in Braga’s midfield last month, though, Horta stepped in to start six consecutive games, five of which Braga won. So the team is trying to hang on to him.
If Horta is not allowed to leave before the MLS transfer window closes May 1, LAFC will have to wait for the summer window, which opens July 10.
Horta spent eight years in Benfica’s youth system before joining Portuguese rival Vitoria Setubal in 2012. He made his first-team debut two years later, then returned to Benfica on a five-year contract in 2016.
“When you build a complete midfield,” Bradley said, “you want an ability to control games. You want an ability that even when teams press, to make passes and play out of pressure and give your team rhythm. He’s got a lot of that in him. He’s a player that’s confident. He wants the ball. He sees things quickly.