ESPN and FOX Sports West reporter Julie Stewart-Binks has reported that she is hearing that former Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil will return to Major League Soccer with Orlando City SC. Gil has been with Queretaro of Liga MX since signing with the Mexican club prior to the 2016 season.
Hearing Luis Gil is making a return to MLS to join Orlando City SC. Has been with Queretero of Liga MX. #MLS— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) March 27, 2017
Since joining the Liga MX side, Gil has struggled to get first-team minutes, appearing in 10 matches and notching two assists without a goal. According to Transfermarkt.com, Gil has played 10 games, amassing 505 minutes with Queretaro.
Gil, 23, is familiar with Jason Kreis, having played under Orlando City’s gaffer from 2010-2013 at Real Salt Lake. Gil had his best statistical season under Kreis in 2013, when he scored five of his 11 career MLS goals in 30 matches (24 starts), adding three assists. Gil has 134 MLS appearances (89 starts) under his belt, with 11 goals and nine assists. He’s received five career yellow cards. He also brings 11 league playoff appearances (six starts) but did not register a postseason goal or assist.
No stranger to Florida, Gil attended the U.S. Soccer program at IMG Academy in Bradenton from 2008-2009. He grew up playing for Southern California youth club power Pateadores. A native of Garden Grove, CA, Gil has two career caps with the USMNT and has also represented the U.S. at the U-17, U-18, U-20, and U-23 levels. He scored 15 youth international goals in 61 appearances and made his first appearance for the senior USMNT on Feb. 1, 2014 off the bench late in a win over Korea Republic.
Gil turned professional in 2010, signing a Generation Adidas contract with MLS despite interest from multiple European clubs, including Arsenal. His rights were won by the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) in a weighted lottery on Feb. 22, 2010, and he was traded the next day to RSL in exchange for a 2011 MLS SuperDraft pick, an international roster slot, and future transfer fee considerations.
In 2010, Gil failed to see the field in an MLS match for Real Salt Lake, but he did appear with the first team in U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League matches. RSL loaned Gil to AC St. Louis that year, where he made nine appearances (five starts), scoring once. His first professional goal came Sept. 18, 2010 against Austin – the game winner in a 2-1 victory. Gil became an RSL regular in 2011, starting 14 times in 25 appearances, netting two goals, including his first MLS tally Aug. 6, 2011 against New York Red Bulls.
Gil scored one goal in 29 games (19 starts) in 2012, but blossomed in 2013 – Kreis’ final season in Utah.
In some respects, Orlando City seems to have the requisite depth in the midfield. Gil has never been a prolific scorer and may be something of a cross between a central midfielder and an attacking player.
However, Gil’s five-goal, three-assist performance in 2013, combined with his young age, suggests that he can develop into a more prolific front line attacking player for the future. The Lions have an aging attacking midfield, with Kaká (34), Matias Perez Garcia (32), and Giles Barnes (28) all 28 or older. The gap between those top three players and Danny Deakin (23), Richie Laryea (22), and Pierre Da Silva (18) is wide, so a more seasoned option like Gil makes sense.
Gil wouldn’t cost the Lions an international slot and his presence would enable players like Da Silva and Laryea to concentrate on improving their game with OCB. With the senior team, Gil could make spot starts or come off the bench at either the left or right attacking midfield position.
JSB provided a bit more detail about the rumor:
According to this story by mlssoccer.com writer Charles Boehm, the Lions would need to acquire Gil’s rights from Real Salt Lake.