Los Angeles Football Club announced a loan move on Friday, as they have sent goalkeeper Luis Lopez to the team’s USL affiliate Orange County SC.
BREAKING NEWS @LAFC loans goalkeeper Luis Lopez to @orangecountysc #ProudAffiliate @MLS @rcdespana Join us for tomorrow's match vs. @SanAntonioFC ⚽️ #USL #MyOCSC— Orange County Soccer Club (@orangecountysc) July 13, 2018
️ TICKETS: https://t.co/etOzEX5snb pic.twitter.com/JgqCcCjUqQ
Lopez, 24, has not yet played a game for LAFC, after suffering a leg injury last year. It was something LAFC said they knew about when they signed him, but the Honduran international’s initial 4-6 week absence in preseason training camp has dragged on to the entire season to date.
Per terms of the loan, LAFC can recall Lopez at any time, although the wording in the release indicates that for the time being, it’s a season-long loan.
The result of this news is to wonder what the motivation is for the loan from LAFC’s perspective. I suspect some info may trickle out in the days and weeks to come, but there may be a few motives here.
The most obvious one is that Lopez, who hasn’t played since last fall, could use some playing time to shake off the rust, and with the business end of LAFC’s season approaching, maybe just throwing him in the deep end isn’t quite the right move if there’s no need to be desperate. In that way, getting rehab starts in USL could ease him into a general playing style in the United States, and give him some reps to get him sharp for possible selection at the MLS level.
Another motivation, or perhaps a dual motivation, could be to send Lopez on loan to free up an international roster slot. This isn’t a priority at this very moment because Omar Gaber’s sale to Pyramids FC yesterday freed up a spot for Andre Horta, but if LAFC add any other internationals to their roster they’ll need to get creative (or add another slot via trade with another MLS team).
From Orange County SC’s perspective, it will be interesting to see what happens. Andre Rawls, on loan himself from New York City FC, appeared to suffer an injury a few games back, and missed the last two games. Rawls has been outstanding for OC this season, and while his backup, Casey Beyers, hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t so far been quite on Rawls’ game-saving levels. Is Rawls out for some time to come? Is Lopez ready to play? And with Orange County in the thick of a playoff seeding race, if Lopez plays, will he hit the ground running?
All of that is to be determined. Orange County play San Antonio FC on Saturday night at Orange County Great Park, and as always we will be covering their games. For now, we will have to see what happens with Lopez on this loan stint, and how long it ultimately lasts.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!