Orlando City signed midfielder David Loera to a Homegrown Player contract just over a year ago. He became the club’s sixth Homegrown Player signing on Dec. 9, 2019 — just three days before OCSC announced the signing of Jordan Bender.
The North Carolina State University product had previously signed an academy contract to play with Orlando City B for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In 2016, he played in three games, recording an assist. The following year, he played in five games and started one and was ranked 59th in the Boys’ IMG Academy Top 150.
Given all of that, signing Loera to a Homegrown deal seemed the logical thing to do.
Loera made his MLS debut on Oct. 3 in a 3-1 home win over the New York Red Bulls, playing just one minute, and he was back on the pitch for another appearance 11 days later to play 14 more minutes in a 1-1 draw against New York City FC.
The 22-year-old appeared in just those two regular-season matches in 2020 — both off the bench — for a total of 15 minutes. As a late-game substitution, Loera’s appearances seemed to be rewards for working hard in training more than anything while the team saw out the final minutes of games. He provided no goals, assists, or shot attempts in his brief cameos.
In fact, he hardly amassed any statistics at all. He had five total touches, completed both of his pass attempts for a sterling 100% accuracy on the season, and committed no fouls while drawing one. Defensively, he had one interception.
Loera did not make an appearance in the team’s two playoff games or in any of the Lions’ four MLS is Back knockout stage matches.
There’s not much to choose from here, but with such a small sample, let’s go with quantity and say that Loera’s best match of 2020 was his 14-minute run-out against New York City FC. He completed his lone pass and drew a foul in the match, while getting a season-high three touches of the ball.
2020 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff can’t give a grade for Loera in just 15 minutes of action, so the Homegrown will get an incomplete grade for the 2020 season. Although he got his first taste of MLS action, he had a lot of competition for playing time in a crowded midfield that included veterans, draft pick Joey DeZart, and fellow Homegrown Bender. When he did play, Loera appeared to bring good energy and pace to the pitch but there simply wasn’t a large enough sample size to make any real conclusions.
Loera is under contract for 2021 but it’s unclear where he fits into the club’s plans. Will the Lions play him as an attacking option? Do they see him as a No. 8 or a more defensive minded player? Even if he’s just a late-game energy guy, there is a potential role for Loera if he can continue to develop. As an older Homegrown out of the college ranks rather than a young one straight out of the academy, Loera’s window to make an impact is probably smaller than Bender’s, but if anyone can develop young players into useful MLS contributors, it’s Oscar Pareja. It will be interesting to see if Loera can take a step forward in 2021.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Jordan Bender (12/2)
- Alex De John (12/3)
- Kamal Miller (12/4)
- Matheus Aias (12/5)
- Alexander Alvarado (12/6)
- Antonio Carlos (12/7)
- Joey DeZart (12/8)
- Dom Dwyer (12/9)
- Kyle Smith (12/10)
- Tesho Akindele (12/11)
- Santiago Patino (12/12)
- Robinho (12/13)
- Rodrigo Schlegel (12/14)
- Sebas Mendez (12/14)
- Brian Rowe (12/15)
- Benji Michel (12/15)
- Robin Jansson (12/16)
- Uri Rosell (12/17)
- Andres Perea (12/18)
- Pedro Gallese (12/18)