Ryan Felix returned to the Orange County Blues in 2016 after a successful beginning with the team. Joining midseason in 2015, his rookie season, the Loyola Marymount product became a regular in the Blues' lineup to close out his first pro campaign.
Showing some apparent versatility, either as a defender or holding midfielder, it was little surprise that Felix was brought back for the 2016 season. In fact, it seemed quite possible he could compete for a starting spot, and if not, be the first defensive option off the bench for OC.
But Felix played less than half of the minutes this year, over the course of a full season, compared to his half-season of work in 2015. Starting the season with several appearances, he then only made occasional appearances for the rest of the season, including a very late substitute's appearance in the final game of the year, the 120-minute playoff loss to Swope Park Rangers.
Here were Felix's statistics with the Blues in 2016:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|USL Regular Season||12||3||335||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|U.S. Open Cup*|
*I have been trying to track down 2016 U.S. Open Cup stats for the Blues. When I get them, I will fill them in the players' stats.
The question, of course, is whether Felix battled some injuries this season or if he just fell down the pecking order. It's interesting to contrast my assessment of him from last year, when I thought he had performed well enough to not only battle for a starting spot his second season, but also possibly gauge whether he could make an MLS roster in the future. Based on the appearances this year, Felix had far fewer opportunities to show off his abilities, and when he was on the field, he was far quieter in terms of standing out on the pitch.
So that leaves the future in doubt. Unlike some of the other 2015 holdovers, Felix did complete the full season with the Blues, playing in both the season debut and finale, but not a ton of minutes in between. It's unclear where exactly his ceiling is as a pro, and whether or not Orange County, under a new coach, would bring him back for 2017. Surely, it's never bad to have a player who's shown to be good squad depth, at the very least, but we'll have to wait and see if Felix will return for a third season with OC.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!