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Orlando City Acquires Left Back Jonathan Suárez on Loan from Querétaro FC

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The Lions add some coverage during Joao Moutinho’s recovery from surgery.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City has announced the signing of American left back Jonathan Suárez on loan from Querétaro FC of Liga MX. Like several other players acquired in recent years, Suárez comes to Orlando on a one-year loan with an option to buy.

“Completing the process of bringing Jonathan to play for us on loan is another important step towards improving our roster and creating depth for us at left back,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Having proven himself to be a top competitor in Liga MX through his versatility, quality on the ball and strength in the buildup, we’re excited to see the different perspectives and skills that he brings to our back line.”

Left back became an area of importance to address this off-season with Joao Moutinho recovering from hip surgery and losing Kamal Miller in the MLS Expansion Draft. The Lions were left with three healthy fullbacks on the roster and all were right-side players.

Suárez, 23, was on loan with Pumas UNAM during the first half of the 2020-2021 Liga MX season. He featured regularly for the Pumas B team in Liga de Expansión MX. He started his pro career with Cimarrones de Sonora — the same club Orlando loaned Santiago Patino to last season. He moved to Quarétaro ahead of the 2018-2019 season.

The Anaheim, CA native made 55 appearances for more than 3,600 minutes in all competitions in Mexico. He scored a goal with Cimarrones and contributed an assist for Querétaro. The 5-foot-11 Suárez has a little international experience with the U.S. setup, debuting with the U-20 United States Men’s National Team off the bench in an international friendly on Oct. 7, 2017.

What it Means for Orlando City

The signing of Suárez addresses the club’s biggest need this off-season, even if he’s a bit of an unknown quantity. The fact that he doesn’t require an international slot helps, but the biggest question is whether he can make the jump to the MLS level from Mexico’s second division. It’s reasonable to think a ‘tweener’ in Mexico could handle MLS competition, and the current Orlando City technical staff has a good track record in identifying players.

If he’s not a regular starter without Moutinho available, then perhaps he’ll provide cover for Kyle Smith if he ends up being the left back starter in Joao’s absence.

Suárez can also play central midfield and left wing, so there’s some versatility there, which is vital from an expected depth player. It’s a loan, so it’s another low-risk move with potentially a high reward and fits the model the club has been using for the last couple of years.