Orlando City signed midfielder David Loera as the club’s sixth Homegrown Player back on Dec. 9, 2019, ahead of the 2020 MLS season. An academy product who attended North Carolina State University, Loera played with Orlando City B back in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
After playing 15 minutes across two MLS games in 2020, Loera hoped to see more playing time in 2021, but that amounted to only a few extra minutes. Let’s take a look back at his season.
Unfortunately, Loera found himself shuffled out of a crowded Orlando City midfield in 2021. He got into just one MLS match, playing a career high 21 minutes in his substitute appearance on July 25 in an utterly horrendous 5-0 loss at New York City FC. He registered his first career shot attempt and first career shot on goal in the match, drawing one foul and committing one himself. He completed all four of his pass attempts and in his brief MLS career, he maintains a 100% passing rate.
Orlando loaned Loera to Phoenix Rising FC in the USL Championship, where he stayed until that club was eliminated from the postseason. While with Phoenix, Loera appeared in 11 matches (four starts) — regular season and playoffs combined — and was subbed off three times, playing a total of 420 minutes. He did not contribute a goal or an assist, putting four of his seven shot attempts on target. He passed at an impressive 84.9% on an average of 45.4 pass attempts per game, and completed his long passes at a 61.5% success rate. Defensively, he contributed two clearances, three interceptions, and five tackles, winning 23 of 51 duels and two of four aerial duels. He committed 11 fouls and won 11 from the opposition, and was booked one time.
With Orlando City, there’s only one game to choose. While it was a terrible game for the Lions as a team, and there’s not much to really glean from Loera’s performance, he did about as well as can be expected, entering the match with his team already down 3-0. He registered all of the season statistics noted in the first paragraph of the section above. He did not register any defensive stats and totaled eight touches.
2021 Final Grade
Because of his low total of minutes played, The Mane Land staff gives Loera an incomplete grade for 2021. He just got squeezed out in the midfield. With a plethora of attacking midfield options available and multiple veteran box-to-box guys, there weren’t many opportunities to get on the field. His loan to Phoenix Rising at least allowed him to get some minutes to perhaps showcase his skills to potential future teams (more on that below).
Orlando City declined Loera’s option for the 2022 season, which ultimately isn’t surprising after two years of not being able to crack the lineup. The midfielder will have to catch on with a new team if he’s going to play in MLS next season. The Homegrown Player seemed to make a lot of bench appearances in his time in Orlando but rarely saw the field. Hopefully the North Carolina State product can catch on with a team where he can get minutes. At just 23 years old, he could still have a productive professional career, but it no longer looks like his future will be with the Lions.