It slipped under the radar with everyone in the U.S. distracted by the Thanksgiving holiday and the World Cup, but Ecuadorian side LDU de Quito made the loan of Orlando City forward Alexander Alvarado permanent on Friday, officially announcing that the Serie A club has exercised its purchase option and signing him for the next five seasons.
— LDU Oficial (@LDU_Oficial) November 25, 2022
While I’ll never understand the practice of posting a photo of a press release in a tweet, the Ecuadorian side stated:
We hereby inform you that we have reached an agreement for the definitive purchase of the sports rights of Alexander Alvarado, who will be linked to Liga Deportiva Universitaria for 5 seasons.
This was expected, and it seemed at the time of his loan last January that the winger had spent his last days in purple for Orlando City. LDU announced the loan back on Jan. 19 and Orlando City officially confirmed the loan a week later. It was a free loan with an option to purchase and now that has happened after Alvarado scored 10 goals and added seven assists last season with LDU, per LigaPro statistics.
The Lions added the midfielder/winger on Oct. 13, 2020, signing the Ecuadorian on loan from Sociedad Deportiva Aucas through the remainder of 2020 with an option to buy. Orlando City exercised that option but Alvarado struggled to get playing time at the end of 2020 and throughout 2021.
Alvarado made a total of 12 MLS appearances (two starts) with Orlando City, logging just 217 minutes, averaging 18 minutes per appearance. The Quevedo, Ecuador native never played a full 90 in an MLS game, with his career longest outing being 69 minutes in Orlando’s embarrassing 5-0 loss at New York City FC on July 25, 2021. He did not score a goal or register an assist, and he attempted just one shot, which was off target. His 89% passing rate was good, but he contributed three times as many turnovers (9) as key passes (3) in his time with the Lions.
What It Means for Orlando City
Not much has changed for the Lions. Alvarado had a base salary of $220,000 in 2021 and earned a guaranteed $238,240, and for some reason that jumped way up to a base of $300,000 and $318,240 in total guaranteed compensation in 2022. That’s a huge raise and it’s no wonder Orlando City loaned him out. Without a recall option — at least no such option was mentioned in the club’s press release about the loan, which is typically in there when there is one — that loan also opened up an international slot at the time.
The duo of Luiz Muzzi and Ricardo Moreira haven’t had many misses in their time in Orlando, and Alvarado might not have been one if he would have played and grown comfortable, but he wasn’t able to get playing time in the City Beautiful for whatever reason, and sometimes the timing of player development doesn’t work out. It’s possible he had difficulty adjusting to the culture, the league, or the system in Orlando, but Oscar Pareja rarely deployed him and it’s not easy to find form playing sparingly at the end of one or two games per month.
Although he didn’t crack the Orlando City lineup, Alvarado seems to have been a good addition for LDU de Quito. At just 23 years old, he could still have a productive professional career, and we wish him well.