Orlando City SC announced yesterday that the club will be sending young midfielders Cam Lindley and Pierre Da Silva out on single-match loans to Saint Louis FC, a club currently managed by former Orlando City B coach Anthony Pulis. Lindley and Da Silva will only be available for selection by Saint Louis for the club’s upcoming away match tomorrow against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field at 8 p.m. ET.
Lindley, whose Homegrown Player rights were acquired by the Lions via a January 2018 trade with the Chicago Fire that saw Rafael Ramos and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) go the opposite direction, has made just three appearances for the Lions since the move and has only amassed 201 minutes of MLS play. Lindley’s a budding star that earned ACC Men’s Soccer Freshman of the Year honors in 2016 and ACC Men’s Soccer Midfielder of the Year in 2017 with the University of North Carolina.
He was also a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2017, which is essentially equitable (in soccer terms) to college football’s Heisman Trophy. Prior to becoming a Tar Heel, he impressed with Wilmington Hammerheads FC and the Chicago Fire’s affiliate youth club, the Indiana Fire Juniors. While with UNC, Lindley made 43 appearances and scored seven times for one of the country’s strongest collegiate soccer programs.
Da Silva, the first-ever player in club history to make the climb from the development academy to OCB and then on to the first team, has made only one official MLS appearance. The 19-year-old has always been highly regarded at Orlando City Stadium as a future prospect. The young midfielder made 49 appearances and scored five goals during the 2016 and 2017 USL seasons.
The pair are both young, highly touted talents that have represented the U.S youth national teams at some level and are sure to make an impact on MLS in the near future. But with a plethora of more-than-competent options in front of them on the depth chart, these short-term loans offer the players a valuable opportunity to gain meaningful playing time against strong and hungry opposing sides.
With the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rapidly approaching, talented and in-form depth is a vital requirement for success to a deep run, and Orlando City is intelligently loaning these youngsters out now perhaps with one eye on its future Cup matches. These minutes in Colorado Springs will be important for Lindley and Da Silva as they serve as a chance for both to remain fit and in form, and to impress Head Coach Jason Kreis in an attempt to gain more playing time later during the season.
What I personally take away from this move is that Kreis and his staff are looking toward the future. They’re well aware of the depth they currently hold in their midfield stable, and they’re also likely itching to get both Lindley and Da Silva more playing time so that the two can eventually be fully integrated into the first team.
What better move to satisfy both of the above factors than with a couple of short-term loans? The two aren’t required in the immediate moment, and Kreis and his staff know that Lindley and Da Silva are invaluable assets to the future of the club. They are increasingly being considered members of a young core of talented players that can one day become full-fledged Orlando City stars who could challenge for silverware. Short-term loans like this, while a bit strange, are not uncommon, and they’ll hopefully prove fruitful for Lindley, Da Silva, Kreis, and the rest of us all as supporters.
Cheers, STLFC. Take down those Switchbacks, but preferably while Lindley and Da Silva pick up significant playing time and no knocks.