Orlando City announced this afternoon that rookie striker Derek Dodson has been loaned to Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship. The loan lasts until the end of the USL Championship season, though Dodson can be recalled at any time. Hartford currently sits in third in the USL Championship’s Atlantic Division.
The Lions selected Dodson with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft in January. Dodson stayed with Georgetown for much of the NCAA season before officially signing with Orlando City in late April. It is not unusual that a rookie signed through the MLS SuperDraft would not see much playing time on a team as deep as Orlando City.
What This Means for Orlando City
Even with Daryl Dike on international duty, Tesho Akindele is having a good season so far, and Alexandre Pato is likely to return from injury sooner rather than later. As such, Dodson is still pretty far down the roster and was unlikely to see any playing time. Orlando also recently sent Matheus Aias out on loan to Spanish second division side Real Oviedo.
Dodson is a young and talented striker with all the physical tools needed to become a good striker in MLS. The loan to Hartford allows him to get some more playing time and continue to develop, while still being available if Orlando City needs to call him back up. This is a move that allows a young player to develop with little downside for the club.