Orlando City SC have a second player under contract ahead of their 2015 expansion season in Major League Soccer after trading for Real Salt Lake midfielder Yordany Alvarez on Wednesday.
Alvarez, 28, suited up for Orlando in 2011 and helped lead the Lions to their first USL PRO Championship while winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
To acquire Alvarez, the club traded its lowest fourth-round SuperDraft pick in 2017. In 2014, Alvarez will be on a loan from Real Salt Lake, playing for the Lions in their final season in USL PRO.
“We’re obviously delighted to have Yordany back,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said. “We have an MLS-caliber player returning to us. I’m really excited to have him with us again and looking forward to the future with him on the squad.“
Alvarez appeared in a career-high 18 games for RSL last season, including 11 starts. After defecting from his native Cuba during the Olympic qualifying tournament in Florida in 2008, Alvarez originally signed with the Austin Aztex (now Orlando City) in 2009 and was later loaned to RSL after the 2011 USL PRO season.
He has appeared in 38 career regular-season games for RSL and two in the postseason, including a 57-minute appearance in the first leg of the team’s Western Conference semifinals series against the LA Galaxy last November.
Alvarez joins Kevin Molino as the club’s first MLS acquisitions for the 2015 season. Both will be playing for Orlando in their final USL PRO season in 2014.
“I’m excited to be back in Orlando,” Alvarez said in a statement. “Orlando City has a special place in my heart for giving me a chance.”