Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers
The countdown of the Top 5 in the USL 20 Under 20 series nears its conclusion with a player who arrived at the Swope Park Rangers from one of the most historic clubs in Europe, and quickly made history with the first goal in club history before injury brought a premature end to a dazzling first campaign in the United States.
A graduate of the SL Benfica Academy in Portugal, Oliveira didn’t arrive with the Rangers as one of their higher-profile signings, but quickly established himself as a player to watch with his consistent play, and creativity in the final third of the field. Even after suffering an injury 13 games into the season, Oliveira remains the club’s leader in assists.
The highlight of Oliveira’s curtailed season was the performance that earned him USL Player of the Week honors, as he notched a goal and three assists against Rio Grande Valley FC in June. Watching that display, and others like it, it might not be too long before the Cape Verde midfielder makes the move to Sporting Kansas City’s roster.
TopDrawerSoccer.com Scouting Report
While his first season in the USL may have been cut short due to an ACL injury suffered at the end of June, Oliveira had already left his mark on the USL season. A dynamic presence on the field, the Cape Verde native demonstrated time and time again the ability to produce game-changing moments with his ability on the ball, leading the counter-attack and creaking chances for his teammates with his passing. His injury is a blow, but provided he makes a healthy comeback, he should be able to pick up where he left off during the first half of 2017.