Happy Tuesday, everyone! There’s a couple important Orlando City-related pieces of news today so let’s jump straight into them.
Lions Sign Andres Perea
Orlando City have signed Colombian midfielder Andres Perea to a one year loan deal with an option to buy after the conclusion of the 2020 MLS season. The 19-year-old arrives from Atletico Nacional in Colombia’s Categoria Primera A, where he played primarily as a defensive midfielder. Born in Tampa but raised in Colombia, Perea holds dual citizenship, and has appeared for both the U-17 and U-19 Colombian national teams. Perea will be additional help at defensive midfield for Orlando after a number of names recently departed the club. While it remains to be seen whether or not he can be productive, the nature of his arrival through a loan makes it a relatively low-risk, high-reward acquisition for the Lions.
OCSC Signs David Loera as Club’s Sixth Homegrown
In more personnel news, the Lions also announced the signing of David Loera to a Homegrown Player contract. A 21-year-old midfielder, Loera is an Orlando City Development Academy product who has spent the last three years playing at North Carolina State University. Loera also played for Orlando City B during the team’s 2016 and 2017 seasons, notching an assist in 2016. Loera’s addition means a different type of midfield reinforcement for the Lions, as his talents lie more towards the attacking end of the field than Perea. While he most likely won’t make an impact for the team in the 2020 season, the signing is an investment in the team’s future — something that Luiz Muzzi has committed to doing, especially when it comes to signing Homegrown Players. Loera was also ranked as the No. 2 Homegrown prospect by MLSSoccer.com.
MLS Transfer Happenings
Orlando City isn’t the only team in the league making, or in the process of making, moves. Bill Hamid signed a new three-year contract that will keep him in the nation’s capital for the immediate future, making permanent the loan deal that brought him back to the club in 2019. Inter Miami CF is said to be in negotiations to sign Club America and Colombian National Team midfielder Roger Martinez. If signed, the 25-year-old would likely join the team as a Designated Player. Finally, Real Salt Lake has signed Trinidad and Tobago defender Alvin Jones from OKC Energy FC in the USL Championship.
Russia Hit With Doping Ban
The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Russia from participating in all international competitions for the next four years. If upheld, the ban would have immediate ramifications, as the Russian flag and national anthem would not be allowed to appear at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While it’s likely that Russian athletes would still be able to appear under the Olympic flag, it’s unclear what the ban would mean for the Russian soccer team. It’s been suggested that should the team progress to the World Cup finals and Olympic competition that the team would simply compete as a neutral, with no crest or anthem identifying the team as Russian. This will certainly be something to watch in the coming weeks, especially if the ban is upheld.
- Orlando City said goodbye to all of the players that it released after the end of the 2019 MLS season.
- Cristian Higuita took the time to say thank you to OCSC.
Gracias @OrlandoCitySC por cinco años maravillosos y por incontables momentos especiales. Soy afortunado de haberlo dejado todo en la cancha por esta gran organización y por los mejores fanáticos de la liga. Espero verlos pronto. My family and I will always bleed purple. pic.twitter.com/XtdmY3s7HK— Cristian Higuita (@CristianHiguit2) December 9, 2019
- Megan Rapinoe has won the Sports Illustrated 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.
- MLS teams in the Concacaf Champions League learned their Round of 16 opponents last night.
That’ll do it for me today. Keep it here for all your Orlando soccer news, and stay safe out there.