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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Oriol Cortes

Spanish midfielder did the dirty work in midfield.

Courtesy of OC Blues FC

Oriol Cortes was an intriguing addition to the Orange County Blues in 2016. The Spanish midfielder, 26 at the start of the season, was born in Barcelona, and that word alone carries with it such promise about a given player, fairly or not.

After playing college soccer at a small school in North Carolina, Cortes played at a couple of lower league Spanish clubs before returning to the U.S., playing a season in the PDL with the Cincinnati Dutch Lions before moving up a level to sign with the Blues near the start of the 2016 season.

A holding midfielder with the ability to hit a good pass to a teammate from a deep position, Cortes largely did the dirty work for Orange County, as he was a regular for about half the season. Given the massive amount of lineup turnover as the season wore on, especially after a raft of signings in August, few players were regulars wire to wire, but Cortes was a steady option on the field.

Cortes 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 17 14 1,065 0 0 2 0 4 1
USL Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup
Total 17 14 1,065 0 0 2 0 4 1

Cortes did not play for about the final month of the season, including the playoffs, so he either picked up an injury or fell out of favor.

Defensive midfield is a tricky position to evaluate. Much of the work done there is hard to track, unless you’re specifically looking for it. Sometimes players who foul frequently make more of an impression than more subtle counterparts, and Cortes was on the whole quite subtle week to week. Was that because he played effectively, or because he was more ineffective than anything? It’s hard to say. Certainly, he was not the kind of player to cough up the ball and make catastrophic mistakes, but my sense was that he was a decent player at USL, solid but not exceptional.

I haven’t seen any word of Cortes joining another team for 2017 so far, but it’s unclear if he’s in Orange County’s plans. The club has brought back two players (out of three currently announced on the new roster), but new Orange County SC head coach Logan Pause will likely have a mostly new squad this year. We’ll see if Cortes makes the cut, or if he has already moved on in his career.

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