Barely had City of Orlando signed on a new striker, the Lions sent one on loan. Second-year forward Santiago Patiño, no. The 3rd overall pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft is heading to Mexico. Patiño is loaned at Cimarrones de Sonora Fútbol Club de la Liga de Expansión MX of Mexico for the remainder of 2020. The Mexican second-division team is 1-0-0 at the start of their Apertura season after a 2-0 victory over Tapatío on Wednesday .
“We are thrilled with this opportunity for Santi to gain additional experience and a few minutes of competing with Sonora which will be an important opportunity for him,” said Orlando City Executive Vice President of Football Operations Luiz. Muzzi, in a club statement. “We look forward to seeing his continued development and how he fares during his time in Mexico.”
Patiño, 23, has since made 13 regular-season appearances in MLS, with three starts, scoring two goals with one assist. His last goal came on July 18, 2019 on the road against the Portland Wood in a 1-1 draw. This happened just two games after his first MLS goal – a strike against the Philadelphia Union in a 2-2 draw in another road game. The Florida International product has only played eight minutes in the Lions’ last eight league games, although he has come several times in the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.
As a beginner, Patiño achieved a composite rating of 4.5 in our season reviewed for 2019, but showed some promise. As our Ben Miller wrote:
Patiño was unable to maintain the momentum of his debut for the remainder of his rookie season. He found the opportunities difficult to seize and only played more minutes than Greg Ranjitsingh and Robinho. It’s hard to call his 2019 a disappointment, but Orlando surely would have hoped for more from his first-round pick.
Today’s addition of Matheus Aias, however, would seem to indicate that the minutes will be tough for him in Orlando in 2020, with rookie Daryl Dike also pushing for playing time.
What this means for the city of Orlando
The Lions are hoping Patiño can develop with more minutes elsewhere than he would have had in Orlando this season. Since it is already August, there is not much left for 2020 and the loan agreement ends at the end of the calendar year. Matheus can now take Patiño’s place on the active list.
Even if it turns out that Patiño does not fit into Orlando City’s future plans, this loan will provide him with the opportunity to enter the pitch and potentially increase his value in the transfer market. But, in the end, that loan makes sense for a young player who isn’t likely to see many minutes in Major League Soccer this season and the club can reassess him at the end of the year.