At only 20 years old, Bryan Róchez is one of the youngest Designated Players ever named to MLS. Signed to Orlando City back in December, the rumor was that many other clubs had their eye on the Honduran striker. However, Orlando had already placed a discovery claim, which put the Lions in pole position to sign him.
Now that he is in Orlando, having recently returned from international duty at the U-20 CONCACAF Championship, we are getting a chance to take a first-hand look at Róchez in action.
Róchez has played professionally for Real C.D. España since 2012, making 59 appearances for the team and scoring 29 goals, earning the distinction of being the league's second-highest goal scorer last season. He has also played for the Honduran National side since 2011 as a U-17 and then U-20 player, reaching the National team level in 2014 and making six appearances -- having been called up for the CONCACAF Centro-American Cup played this past September.
Although Honduras is a small country, they are a futbol powerhouse in Central America, having produced three other DPs playing in MLS: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution -- currently on loan to A.C. Belgrano in Argentina), Oscar Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), and Alexander López (Houston Dynamo). Honduras' National Team also qualified and played in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments.
Once again, Orlando City has gained a player with experience playing with the big boys at a senior international level. Róchez joins 7 teammates who have played for their senior national team. Darwin Ceren (El Salvador), Cyle Larin (Canada), Brek Shea (USA), Kevin Molino (Trinidad & Tobago), Kaká (Brazil), Martin Paterson (Northern Ireland), and Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica -- although he retired from national team play in 2014).
On the field, Róchez demonstrates that he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His highlight reels, available through MLS and YouTube, shows that he is a terrific opportunist, able to make fast poacher's goals, usually from inside the box. He creates terrific opportunities, heads the ball with brilliant accuracy, and displays fierce speed.
In a recent club interview, he also demonstrates the humility that Head Coach Adrian Heath tends to gravitate towards in his best players:
"It's something very beautiful to be recognized but I'm very humble knowing that any mistake would ruin everything, so I have to keep working and keep maintaining the humility more than anything. Daily [I] work hard to earn a name in the team; we know the responsibility that I have. I know the quality that I have too, but I am calm and I know that my teammates have confidence in me, the coaching staff too, and on the field I'll make sure to do my best and make my name valuable."
Based on his recent performances in practice, we are hoping for great things from Róchez this season and clearly as a member of the powerful Honduran National team, we expect to see great things out of this young and dynamic player now and in the future.