ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The 2020 season continues to bring blessings for the Orlando City Soccer Club and its players. This week, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team announced that a third player from Orlando City, Andrés Perea, is joining Daryl Dike and Chris Mueller for the USMNT December training camp.
Preparing for El Salvador
Players already called up to the team reported to squad duties in South Florida on Tuesday. Chicago Fire’s Frankie Amaya tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival to camp, which resulted in the subsequent call-up of Perea into the lineup.
The United States prepares for a fiery El Salvador side on home soil at the Inter Miami FC Stadium on December 9. Officials have reported a limited crowd size of 2,500 will be eligible to attend gameday.
Andrés Perea, alongside OC teammates Mueller and Dike, were part of a strong youth contingent at Orlando this season that provided depth for them down the stretch. Perea routinely had to fill in for different holding or defensive midfield roles where he showed his proficiency as a ball-winner in right spaces.
In his first full season with the club — on loan from Colombian side Atlético Nacional — Perea has amassed 11 starts and played a key role in Orlando’s wins over Columbus Crew and NYCFC.
Perea enjoys a unique situation nationalistically. Born in Tampa and raised in Colombia, Perea is a dual-national who competed with Colombia’s 2019 FIFA U-20 team where he started in each of those five games.
This mini-camp will serve as an excellent sampler for what the USMNT U-23 players can do. This MLS-centric batch of players will offer Head Coach Gregg Berhalter an excellent glimpse into what domestic talent there is available to share the field with the likes of Gio Reyna, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and more in time for the Tokyo Olympics.
Signing on the Dotted Line
Orlando City wasted no time signing back the premier talent that made their 2019-20 season so successful. Within days of completing their season, Orlando City announced the resigning of Mauricio Pereyra and Antonio Carlos, who were both pivotal figures in the playoff push for Orlando this season.
Antonio Carlos made the loan move from Palmeiras permanent this offseason as he inked a three-year deal with the MLS side. After kissing the crest in his playoff penalty against NYCFC, it seemed Antonio Carlos may have found a new home in Orlando.
Although the many fine Brazilian restaurants in the city are enough to keep any person attracted to Orlando, the bigger picture around this move came down to football.
Mauricio Pereyra re-signing until 2021 is a further sign of ambition at the club as they are committing to their central attacking midfielder for another year.
Don Dwyer entering free agency also hints that Orlando City may be thinking in an attacking direction for off-season acquisitions.
The emergence of Dike and Mueller have been revelations for Orlando City thus far, but OC Head Coach Oscar Pareja may be looking abroad at another mentor figure to surround this young batch of players to further facilitate their growth.
Nicolas Vera is a contributing writer for Florida National News. | email@example.com