Orlando City has loaned striker Bryan Rochez to Real C.D. Espana in Honduras. The six-month loan sends the player back to his former club.
Reports of a possible loan surfaced Thursday night when Real C.D. Espana tweeted a picture of Rochez prior to his move to Orlando asking fans to welcome him back to the club. However, Orlando City officials told The Mane Land that, while a deal was in place, nothing had been finalized. Orlando City officially announced the loan this afternoon.
Importantly, the club announced that the loan does not free up Rochez's Designated Player slot, meaning that either Real Espana isn't picking up enough of his salary or Orlando City has retained the right to recall him from that loan at any time. This leaves the Lions without Rochez or his DP slot, but it does allow the 21-year-old Honduran to rebuild his game and confidence in a familiar environment.
Rochez originally joined Orlando City as a Young Designated Player, along with Colombian Carlos Rivas, but has has struggled to make an impact with the club. In June of 2015, Rochez lost his passport while on international duty with Honduras at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. He then found himself behind star rookie striker Cyle Larin on the depth chart. Rochez played in 16 games during the 2015 MLS season, tallying three goals -- in consecutive games -- and completing 68.4% of his passes.
After getting injured while on duty with the Honduran U-20 national team this past off-season, Rochez missed all of pre-season and took extra time before he was ready to play for Orlando City B in the USL. He played in a total of 10 games this season for the Lions' reserve side, accumulating two goals and one assist in 440 minutes.
Prior to joining Orlando City, Rochez played at Real Espana where he now finds himself. A native of Tegucigalpa, Rochez scored 29 goals in 59 appearances for the Honduran club between 2012 and 2014.
"We believe that this will be a good opportunity for Bryan to receive valuable minutes and continue his development," Assistant General Manager Niki Budalic said in a club press release. "He had plenty of success with Real C.D. Espana prior to joining us and we hope he can pick up where he left off."
Rochez should see valuable playing time that he wasn't seeing for Orlando City B, as Anthony Pulis has primarily called upon Michael Cox and Hadji Barry this season after the two solidified their positions with the team while Rochez was getting fit for the season. The Lions hope that playing time will translate into greater success when he returns for the 2017 season.
In the end, this is a case of Orlando City protecting their investment, which the club still obviously feels has value and can develop even more.