clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Oscar Pareja’s First Orlando City Squad: Where They Are Now

Where has everyone ended up from the first Orlando City squad that Oscar Pareja was in charge of back in 2020?

SOCCER: OCT 31 MLS - Nashville SC at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2020 Major League Soccer season was Oscar Pareja’s first in charge of Orlando City SC. It brought the team’s first appearance in a final since the Lions joined MLS, as well as Orlando’s first playoff appearance. With Pareja having just concluded his third season at the helm and having plenty of retooling ahead of him in an off-season that saw several departures, this seems like a good time to look back at Papi’s first Orlando City squad and ask: where are they now?

First up, let’s have a look at the players who are no longer on the team.

Brian Rowe

Rowe was in his second season with the team back in 2020. The arrival of Pedro Gallese saw him lose his starting job, and the U.S. Open Cup and Copa America not being played due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that he didn’t get as many opportunities as he typically would have. Orlando City did not renew his contract at the end of the season and he announced his retirement in May of last year.

Alex De John

Like Rowe, De John spent two seasons with Orlando City, leaving after the end of the 2020 season. He most recently spent two years with Atlanta United, and is currently a free agent after Atlanta declined his option year at the end of the 2022 season.

Joao Moutinho

This one shouldn’t be too difficult to remember as it just happened. Following four years as the starting left back for the Lions, Moutinho’s contract expired at the end of the 2022 season. There were whispers all year about him having European aspirations, and those whispers were proved correct when he joined Serie A side Spezia last week.

Kamal Miller

Miller spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons in Orlando and showed plenty of promise when coming on as a substitute or making spot starts due to injuries to players in front of him on the depth chart or due to squad rotation. That’s why losing him in the expansion draft stung a bit, and he’s since gone on to fulfill that potential with both CF Montreal and Canada.

Sebas Mendez

Another recent departure, Mendez spent three-and-a-half years with the Lions before being traded to LAFC back in July for a tidy sum of General Allocation Money. He won an MLS Cup with the team and it currently remains to be seen if he will re-sign there or take his talents elsewhere.

Junior Urso

Add another name to the list of recent departures, with this one being the most surprising. Orlando and Urso mutually agreed to terminate his contract a month ago to allow him to return to Brazil for personal reasons. Urso spent three years with the Lions, becoming a starter and fan favorite. His exit still hurts a little and he has not yet signed on with another team.

Uri Rosell

Rosell was with Orlando for three years, joining the team from Sporting CP and making his return to MLS. Following the expiration of his contract after the 2021 season, he rejoined Sporting Kansas City for his second stint with the club, and still plays for the team.

Andres Perea

Perea is the most recent departure from the club. He joined Orlando ahead of the 2020 season on loan from Atletico Nacional. He played two more seasons following the loan move being made permanent, and was traded to the Philadelphia Union for $750,000 in GAM (split across two seasons) earlier this week.

David Loera

Loera came up through the Orlando City academy system and ultimately signed with the first team as a Homegrown Player ahead of the 2020 season. He didn’t see a ton of the field with the first team and had his contract option declined after the 2021 season. He now plays for San Antonio FC, and won the 2022 USL Championship with the team.

Jordan Bender

Bender also signed a Homegrown contract with the first team ahead of the 2020 season, but also didn’t see much time on the field. His option was likewise declined after the 2021 season and he now plays for Cape Town City in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League.

Joey DeZart

DeZart was selected in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and spent the next three years with the team, primarily making substitute appearances and spot starts. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut his 2022 season short and the team decided not to bring him back. He is currently a free agent.

Chris Mueller

Cash spent four years with the team after being drafted by the Lions in 2018. He transferred to Hibernian after the 2021 season but only spent a few months in Scotland before returning to MLS with the Chicago Fire, where he currently plays.

Tesho Akindele

The forward also spent four years in Orlando after the Lions got him in a trade with FC Dallas. He made over 100 appearances for the team and bagged his career high for goals in a season in 2019, when he scored 10. Tesho had his option declined at the end of this season and is currently a free agent.

Dom Dwyer

Orlando’s USL Pro hero came to the MLS side in 2017 and stayed until the end of the 2020 season. That 2020 season was cut short for Dwyer by an injury he sustained in the MLS is Back Tournament. He next landed with Toronto FC, but is currently playing for Atlanta United.

Nani

The Portuguese talisman spent three glorious years in Orlando and provided plenty of goals and assists before he left following the expiration of his contract after the 2021 season. He spent the back half of the 2021-2022 Serie A season with newly promoted Venezia, and left following the team’s relegation to Serie B. He has since joined Melbourne Victory.

Daryl Dike

Quite possibly my favorite Orlando City player, Dike was picked in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and came alive following the aforementioned injury to Dom Dwyer. He spent two largely unstoppable years with the Lions before a transfer to West Brom at the end of the 2021 season. He is working his way back from a series of injuries and I’m very excited to see what he can do.

Alexander Alvarado

Alvarado joined towards the tail end of the 2020 season and remained with the team until the end of the 2022 season, although all of 2022 was spent on loan at LDU de Quito, with the loan move being made permanent last month.

Robinho

Robinho came in during July of 2019 from the Columbus Crew. His contract option was declined at the end of the 2020 season and he now plays for Confianca in the Brazilian second division.

Matheus Aias

Orlando signed South American players from Watford before it was cool, with Matheus Aias arriving in August of 2020. He didn’t play a ton of minutes for the Lions and went on loan in July of 2021, before permanently moving to Racing Santander in July of this year.

Pedro Gallese, Mason Stajduhar, Ruan, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday, Mauricio Pereyra and Benji Michel all remain with the team.


This has been an interesting trip down memory lane, and it included some names that I had either almost forgotten or had completely forgotten about. Is there anyone on this list who you wish was still playing in purple? Be sure to have your say down in the comments.