Orlando City Waives Defender RJ Allen
Orlando City announced this afternoon that it has waived defender RJ Allen. The right back spent one season in Orlando after being acquired via a trade with New York City FC.
The Lions acquired Allen on Dec. 18, 2017 in a trade with NYCFC for the club’s 2018 MLS SuperDraft third-round pick. In his only year in Orlando, Allen played in 18 league games, starting 10, and accumulated 966 minutes. He had two assists, including setting up Dom Dwyer’s 87th-minute game-winning goal against the Portland Timbers in April. He was booked twice, with the first coming on June 9 in Vancouver in the 50th minute and on July 7 against Los Angeles FC in the 61st minute.
In the U.S. Open Cup, Allen started the first two games against Miami United FC and D.C. United. He played all 210 minutes in those games and assisted Stéfano Pinho’s opening goal in Miami. He made the bench for the team’s quarterfinal match-up with the Philadelphia Union but did not appear.
Allen was initially brought in to back up starting right back Scott Sutter. In his 10 starts, he lined up eight times at right back as well as once each at left back and center back. While his play was considered inconsistent, his $90,000 salary provided considerable value for a player that started 10 games and provided the depth needed in Sutter’s absence.
The Mane Land gave Allen a composite grade of 5 for his 2018 season-long performance. He ranged largely from “serviceable” to “solid” in his individual match outings, but was not the type of player who would tend to amaze fans. He was more a guy who could be plugged into the lineup in various spots and put in a night of hard work.
What It Means for Orlando City
With the departure of Allen, Orlando City has now completely replaced its right back contingent from a year ago. The team signed Kyle Smith from James O’Connor’s former team, Louisville City FC of the USL Championship, and the Brazilian Ruan has been undergoing physicals and joining his new team this week. The Lions do get younger at the position, replacing the 32-year-old Sutter and 28-year-old Allen with a 27-year-old Smith and 23-year-old Ruan, but they also lose considerable MLS experience. Sutter and Allen combined for six years of MLS experience while neither Ruan nor Smith have played in the league.