Reports out of Ecuador this morning indicate that Orlando City has either already signed or is close to signing 21-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Jhegson Sebastián Méndez Carabalí (commonly known as Jhegson Méndez). While we can’t confirm that Méndez has been signed, The Mane Land has learned that this move is nearly complete, although terms are not known.
Demasiado tarde llego la oferta del Atlético Paranaense por Sebastián Méndez jugador de Independiente Del Valle. El mediocampista fue transferido la semana anterior a la MLS y jugará en el Orlando City.— Roberto Omar Machado (@MachadoRobertoO) December 27, 2018
Méndez, a native of Mira, Ecuador, is a 5-foot-11 central midfielder who can play either on the attacking side or the defensive end. He’s played five matches with Ecuador’s national team after stints on his country’s U-20 and U-17 teams. A product of the C.S.D. Independiente del Valle academy, Méndez has played nearly his entire club career to date with Independiente, making 72 appearances and scoring three goals. He also played one match on loan with Cultural Leonesa in Spain’s third division.
What it Means for Orlando City
There’s a big hole to fill in the midfield with the transfer of Yoshimar Yotún to Cruz Azul earlier today. Yoshi was often used as more of an attacking piece than he’s meant to be. Méndez isn’t as developed but he seems to have a similar skill set as a player who generally plays central midfield but can add to the attack and cover defensively. He’s younger, obviously, and bigger at 5-foot-11.
He’s old enough to step in and play immediately but young enough that he’ll probably need to grow into his game over time. Hopefully he can make the adjustment to the U.S. quickly and to his teammates even more so.
Here are some highlights of what he can do: