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LDU Announces Signing of Orlando City Winger Alexander Alvarado on Loan

The Ecuadorian is heading home on loan, per an announcement by LDU.

SOCCER: JUN 22 MLS - San Jose Earthquakes at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Orlando City winger Alexander Alvarado is apparently going out on loan for the 2022 season to LDU in his native Ecuador. The Quito-based side publicly announced the loan of Alvarado for the 2022 season with a purchase option on LDU’s website. Los Albos also announced the deal on their social media.

Orlando City has not yet made a public statement about the loan, but it’s difficult to imagine that won’t be coming soon. It isn’t unusual for teams in other countries to announce moves before the paperwork becomes official on the MLS side. Should the move become official, it might spell the end of Alvarado’s time in Orlando.

Alvarado, 22, a native of Quevedo, Ecuador, signed with Orlando City in October of 2020 from Sociedad Deportiva Aucas in his country’s top flight. In a little more than one full season with the Lions, Alvarado appeared in 12 matches (two starts), playing a mere 217 minutes. He did not score a goal or assist on one, and attempted only one shot, which was off target. He passed well, completing his attempts at an 89% across his 12 games, and drew 10 fouls while committing only two.

Mired behind Nani on the left wing, Alvarado also saw potential minutes given to other players on the team throughout 2021. Benji Michel and Chris Mueller (with Silvester van der Water slotting in on the right) were ahead of Alvarado on the depth chart last season, limiting the Ecuadorian’s minutes.

What It Means for Orlando City

Again, this isn’t official as of this writing, but it will give Alvarado a chance to get playing time. At 22, he could still develop into a useful player, and he has shown some promise in his limited minutes. In his debut as a Lion, he drew a free kick that led to a goal in Orlando City’s 4-1 win over Atlanta United on Oct. 28, 2020.

With his high motor, Alvarado can make life difficult for opponents. He’s shown himself to be a good passer. He simply needs to develop his other attacking attributes, and now he’ll have a chance to do that. However, with LDU having an apparent purchase option, if he performs well, he may never be back.

Alvarado had a base salary of $220,000 in 2021 and earned a guaranteed $238,240. Depending how much of Alvarado’s salary was picked up, that frees up a good chunk of cap room for the club. In addition, he won’t occupy an international roster spot. Some of that changes if the deal is written in a way that Orlando can recall him at any time, but again, we don’t have the official word on that from Orlando City just yet.

The duo of Luiz Muzzi and Ricardo Moreira haven’t had many misses in their time in Orlando, and Alvarado could still develop into a top-notch player. But he wasn’t getting playing time in the City Beautiful and sometimes the timing of player development doesn’t work out. The club ended up spending more on him than it got in return by way of production on the field, but not every move works out. Let’s hope Alvarado can jumpstart his career back in Ecuador. And, if it turns out that LDU jumped the gun and the loan doesn’t happen, let’s hope Alvarado can make a big leap forward in 2022 with the Lions.

This story will be updated as needed.