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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Steve Purdy

Former MLS defender made a short-lived comeback.

Portland Timbers v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Steve Purdy is a name recognizable to many MLS fans, as a player who played for FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers and then Chivas USA back in the day.

The 2013 team he was on with Chivas USA was one of the most dysfunctional situations any MLS player has ever been part of, and while Purdy suffered the injury to insult with a broken face late in the season, he was voted Chivas USA Defender of the Year on this very website, so he was respected for gutting out a pretty difficult season all around.

An El Salvador international, the California native did not return to MLS, or any other pro league, after the 2013 season. Until this year, when the 31-year-old was a surprise signing with the Orange County Blues.

It was a risk/reward move that seemed to make a lot of sense. Purdy had obviously been out of the pro game for a couple years, so there was risk to see if he could hang at the USL level these days, but he had considerable experience, and might turn out to be a tidy signing for the Blues, who were looking to build on a strong 2015 season.

As it turned out, Purdy was the starter from the first game of the season, and quickly settled in alongside Maurice Pluntke in the middle of defense. Surprisingly, Purdy seemed to supplant Brenton Griffiths in the earlygoing, who had been an All-League second team selection the previous season.

Purdy 2016 OC Blues statistics

2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
USL Regular Season 7 7 553 0 0 4 1 0 0
USL Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup*
Total 7 7 553 0 0 4 1 0 0

But as you can see here, Purdy only ended up playing in seven league games. He may have been the starter opening day, and was a consistent pick early on, but his final league appearance came May 8, and he was not used the rest of the way.

As ever, there was no announcement as to what happened here, if Purdy got hurt, if he fell out of favor, or if the team and/or he decided it wasn’t going to work out. Two years away from the pro game is a long time, even if he was still pretty young, but he could have just as likely gotten injured.

Still, the Steve Purdy era was brief in Orange County. It seems unlikely he’ll pop up again in the pro game, but you never know! He was a guy who always worked hard and was liked by fans, and the Blues’ record in the games he played was a respectable 3-3-1. If nothing else, at least he got another taste of pro soccer, instead of ending it with his face being smashed by an elbow during one of the toughest seasons in MLS history.

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