Orlando City defender Tyler Turner and midfielder Harrison Heath were named by Landon Donovan for the 2016 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. This will be Turner's second appearance in the game after he competed in the 2015 edition, and Heath's second selection, though an injury suffered in a friendly last year kept him out of the game.
The Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game is an annual match between a 20-man selection of MLS homegrown players and a U-20 team. The inaugural game in 2014 saw the homegrown team draw 0-0 with the Portland Timbers U-23s at Providence Park in Portland. Last year, the team took on Club America U-20s, drawing 1-1 and losing 5-4 on penalties.
Turner has spent the entirety of the 2016 season at Orlando City B in the USL. He's played in 14 games this season, recording three goals and one assist in 1,088 minutes. Turner was sent off just before halftime on June 11 against the Charleston Battery, forcing him to miss the following two games against New York Red Bulls II and FC Montreal. When he became available again to Anthony Pulis, the OCB boss decided to go with Zach Hayden, who had performed admirably in Turner's absence.
"It's a real big privilege to be called into the Homegrown Game again," Turner said in a club press release. "I can't wait to go out and represent myself, my family, the club and and, most importantly, the City of Orlando, especially after the tragedies that happened over the past couple of months. I would like to thank the coaching staff that has worked with me and Landon Donovan, whom I highly respect and admire, for selecting me again."
Heath started the 2016 season injured, not making an appearance until April 22 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Becoming a regular in Pulis' starting lineup, Heath played 90 minutes in the following five games, scoring a goal on June 5 against Louisville City and accumulating 528 total minutes for OCB. Heath's play at the USL level has won him a place in the senior team. He played 90 minutes in both Orlando City's U.S. Open Cup win in Jacksonville on June 15 and the team's June 29 loss to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Following his performances in the Open Cup, Heath was called up for the last two MLS games. He was an unused sub against FC Dallas on July 4 and started on July 8 against the Houston Dynamo.
"I'm obviously delighted. I got called in last year but we played a friendly the week before and I got injured, so obviously delighted that I'm fit for this one," Heath said in the club release. "It's nice to be called in for a second year in a row. All it's going in the right direction for me and I'm delighted with that. I've worked hard to get myself into this position and hopefully I can keep going now."
In addition to Turner and Heath, Donovan stated during his roster announcement that center back Tommy Redding was one of the first names on the list to be chosen for the game but is unable to take part due to a hamstring injury which has the defender out for approximately two weeks.
This year's game will be held on July 27 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose against the Mexico U-20 national team. The game will be played at 9 p.m. and will be aired on UDN, the first time the game will be on national television.