At the very last minute of the trade deadline, news broke that the Colorado Rapids swapped midfielder Dillon Powers to Orlando City SC for midfielder Luis Gil.
Here’s what we know (thanks to RapidsRabbi for digging it up):
We also know that Gil has had played with the USMNT U-17, U-18, U-20, and U-23 teams, including the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in October 2015 (when he started with Dillon Serna).
But when Michael from fellow SB Nation site The Mane Land reached out to ask if I wanted to swap info. about our new acquisitions, I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more.
Burgundy Wave: It seems that a few OCSC fans really liked Gil, but the majority aren't very sad to see him go. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
The Mane Land: It’s difficult to know what Gil really is good at because he didn’t arrive in form and never got consistent enough minutes to build any kind of chemistry at game speed with his teammates. He had a few flashes – notably working a give-and-go along the sideline with defender Victor “PC” Giro that set up a game-tying free kick at Seattle. That was probably his finest moment in his brief career with Orlando City. I’d say one of his strengths is getting his shots on target (7/10) and he’s versatile in that he can slot into several different midfield roles, although I have to admit I’m not sure which one best suits him.
The venom spewed toward Gil by many Lions fans is a bit puzzling to me. While he didn’t seem to positively impact the team in most of his minutes, neither did he have a negative effect. His work rate was fine, he played with energy, and he seemed willing to give whatever he could, wherever he was asked to play – and that was in a variety of spots. It may have just been a case of a square peg in a round hole in terms of fit, but I think the main problem was that he just never found consistent enough minutes to cohesively play with any group in the squad.
BW: The Rapids are in dire need of a number 10/someone who can bring some creativity to the attack. Is that a role that Gil can fill?
TML: I don’t believe Gil will be what the doctor ordered in terms of a true No. 10. He seems more suited for a defensive midfield role that occasionally gets forward to add numbers in the attack. It’s not that he doesn’t have any creativity, but I think he’s more suited to a sidekick role, where he can play one-two passes with quick, darting players who like to get forward. His shots, while accurate in terms of hitting the target, often lack the power you’d like to see and tend to be too close to the keeper, or at least that’s what we’ve seen in the representative sample he provided in Orlando.
BW: Conversely, can Gil defend? Does he press?
TML: In general, I think Gil is a competent and capable defender. Orlando City didn’t utilize much high press so it remains to be seen whether that’s a role he’s well-suited for, but I think he has enough quickness to suitably press on defense. From what I’ve personally observed, I think he’s a better defender with a sideline to help than he is in the open midfield, but that’s probably true for many players.