Orlando City loaned Homegrown winger Wilfredo Rivera to Indy Eleven in the USL Championship, the club announced on Monday. The Puerto Rican international will join Indy for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Rivera joins fellow former Orlando academy graduate Raul Aguilera who joined the USL side in the offseason. After failing to break through at the MLS level, Aguilera has become a key fixture for Indy, playing over 1,200 minutes so far this season. Former Orlando City forward Stefano Pinho is another key figure for the Eleven,
Rivera is among the more intriguing prospects in the Orlando City system, but has failed to break through at the professional level. He's never played for the first team, but he's one of the better players for Orlando City B in MLS Next Pro with one goal and three assists in ten appearances.
Moving up to the USL Championship level is a massive opportunity for the 18-year-old playmaker. He's clearly not ready to make an impact at the MLS level, but the USL is a great learning ground to become a proper professional player.
The ceiling for Rivera doesn't seem to be extremely high compared to other elite talents in MLS academies, but if he develops well with in a very good Indy Eleven squad he could grow into a quality contributor for the Lions in MLS.
Orlando's academy hasn't been particularly great at developing first team caliber players, with the likes of Jordan Bender failing to graduate to the MLS level. We've seen a few players come through Orlando's system and become effective USL players such as Hadji Barry and Sefano Pinho, but the development path is still a work in progress.
The shining star right now is probably Michael Halliday, one of the better fullback prospects in MLS right now. He was a key figure for the US U-20 team in its succesful Concacaf championship tournament and is one of the few homegrowns in and around the Orlando first team.