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Sources: Union Close To Deal With Portuguese Center-Back Steven Vitória

By Kevin Kinkead

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia Union's backline is about to become a whole lot "bigger."

Sources tell CBS Philly the team is close to signing six-foot-five Portuguese center back Steven Vitória on a loan deal.

Philadelphia had been in talks with the player, but was wary of completing the move until Carlos Valdes could be moved to another club. With a cap hit of more than $400,000, the Union front office wanted to be sure that Valdes' loan to Uruguay's "Nacional" was completed before proceeding on negotiations with Vitória.

That roadblock was cleared on Friday morning when Valdes passed a physical and put pen to paper on his new contract.

Born in Toronto, the 28-year-old Vitória has played the last two seasons with S.L. Benfica in Portugal's top flight. He spent the prior three years with Estoril Praia and also played at several second division clubs while on-loan from Porto, where he signed a youth contract in 2005.

Vitória is an imposing center back with natural aerial ability. Strangely enough, he is also a penalty kick specialist, and he scored 11 goals during the 2012-2013 season at Estoril. He transferred to Benfica in 2013, but struggled to find meaningful minutes at the club.

If Vitória does sign with Philadelphia, it means that Maurice Edu will likely play in the midfield this season.

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