After reviewing all the players from last year who played for the USL Pro version of Orlando City, we look farther back to 2013, to see where the 16 players from that year ended up.
With 2013, it was a historic year for the Lions. After a championship game that ended with a 7-4 scoreline in favor of Orlando, the team began to get more traction for making the jump to MLS. This was also the first year of the partnership with Sporting Kansas City, which brought in some very exciting players.
Christian Duke, Jon Kempin, Yann Songo'o and Dom Dwyer were originally brought in on loan to the club, while CJ Sapong and Kevin Ellis made a few appearances in the later half of the season.
Duke was recalled to SKC at the end of the season and loaned out to another USL team, the Oklahoma City Energy, for the 2014 season. He played in 13 games for the Energy before his season was cut short due to injury. SKC chose not to re-sign him for this upcoming year, so Duke signed a full time contract with OKC. He has played in six games this year.
Jon Kempin played behind veteran Miguel Gallardo while in Orlando, but saw a good chunk of time early on due to Gallardo's preseason injury. Kempin made nine appearances for the Lions before also being loaned to the Oklahoma City Energy for the 2014 season, where he made 13 appearances. This year, Kempin was loaned out to the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL, where he has made two appearances so far.
Yann Songo'o played only 12 games for Orlando City before he and Sporting KC mutually parted ways, thus negating his loan to Orlando for 2013. The Cameroonian went on to sign for English Championship side Blackburn Rovers, though he has only seen four games of action in the past two years with the club. He spent the 2014 season on loan to Ross County, where he made 17 appearances and scored three goals. He is currently still with the Rovers, but has not seen playing time in a while.
CJ Sapong only played in four games with Orlando City, while Kevin Ellis played five. Sapong made 20 appearances for SKC in 2014 and scored four times, which led to his transfer this year to the Philadelphia Union, where he has made 12 appearances and scored six times. Ellis, after a brief loan spell to Oklahoma City in 2014, has become the starting center back for Sporting after Ike Opara went down for the season. He has appeared in 11 games and has one goal to his credit.
The last of the SKC players was the one and only Dom Dwyer. Dwyer broke records in Orlando and instantly became a fan favorite and has since thrived with Sporting since his return in 2013. He made 16 appearances in 2013 and scored twice, including a crucial goal that sent his team to the MLS Cup championship game. In 2014, he set the league on fire, scoring 22 goals in 33 games. This year, he has seen action in 14 games and has scored five times.
Johnny Mendoza, who was a local graduate of Lyman High and Stetson, only played in nine games for Orlando before getting left of the 2014 roster. He has since signed with another USL team, the Rochester Rhinos, where he has seen playing time in 30 games since 2013. This year alone, he has played in 14 games and has scored twice.
Brian Fekete was another local product, coming out of Bradenton and the University of Tampa. After playing in seven games for the Lions, Fekete went up north to Pittsburgh to play with the Riverhounds of the USL. After making 11 appearances for the team, he left and has since signed with the Austin Aztex. He has made eight appearances for the club so far this year.
Long Tan, who was coming off of a season with D.C United in 2012, made 25 appearances for Orlando in 2013, but was only able to find the net five times. For the 2014 season, Tan went back to his native China and played with Harbin Yiteng for only seven games, before he came back to the United States and joined Arizona United mid-season. Tan played in 12 games and scored five times. This year, he currently leads the team in total points, having played and started every game so far this season (14), scoring seven goals.
Jean Alexandre, after being on loan to Orlando in 2012, signed on as a full time player in 2013. The Haitian tallied 12 appearances and two goals, before leaving the U.S. to go play for Malaysian side, NS Matrix. He is on Haiti's national team roster for the Gold Cup, coming up in a few days.
Oumar Diakhite was a very big product for Orlando, coming out of famed Montverde Academy and the Orlando City U-23s in 2012. He only played in two matches for Orlando, the first was the U.S. Open Cup game in Kansas City and the second was against the now-defunct Antigua Barracuda FC. After that game, Diakhite went to Portugal for a trial with the Primera Liga side Olhanense. He impressed the team and was officially transferred on August 1, 2013. Since his arrival with the team, he has made 26 appearances and has scored two goals.
Many players from the 2013 squad hung up their boots after the season. Kieron Bernard, an original player who came over with the team from Austin, retired due to multiple injuries over his career. Goalkeeper Sean Kelley also has seemingly hung up his boots, having not played since the team released him following the 2013 season. Freddie Braun signed with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL and played only one game. He retired on August 10 of last year and is now an account executive. Meanwhile, Erik Ustruck retired following the 2013 championship game, but has since remained with the club and is now the team administrator.
Finally, last but not least, is club legend Jamie Watson. After scoring 10 goals in 2013, Orlando was not able to promise Watson playing time, so he was ultimately traded to the NASL's Minnesota United. He has made 19 appearances for the team in two years but has recently torn his ACL and will be out for the rest of this season.
Watson played in 60 games for Orlando and scored 23 goals over his three years with the Lions. He was the face of the franchise for the first few years of their existence and will never be forgotten by the Orlando City faithful. #ForeverALion