ORLANDO, Fla. (July 27, 2022) - A pair of Orlando City Academy products have been selected to the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate, with midfielders Alejandro Granados and Favian Loyola being named to the East roster.
“We couldn’t be more excited for Alejandro and Favian to take part in the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star match,” Orlando City Technical Director and Assistant General Manager Ricardo Moreira said. “Their selection showcases all the good work being done by our Academy in developing players and we can’t wait to watch these two take part in the match in Minnesota.”
Granados, 16, featured 21 times in MLS NEXT for the Lions this past campaign, 18 of which were starts, finding the back of the net four times including in the Quarterfinals of the MLS NEXT Cup against Austin FC, converting from the penalty spot. The Spanish midfielder has also featured for MLS NEXT Pro side Orlando City B, appearing nine times since the start of the Lions’ 2022 campaign, with one assist to his credit.
Loyola, 17, appeared 18 times this past MLS NEXT season, 17 of which were starts, scoring five times for the side. He too has already made his professional debut for Orlando City B, making four appearances this campaign, coming off the bench to score his first professional goals with a second-half brace against Chicago Fire II on July 17. On the international stage, Loyola has recently been called up to the U.S. U-19 National Team, joining the side for its upcoming training camp in Carson, Calif.
The inaugural fixture will see 44 of the top MLS NEXT players, 22 per team, compete in an East vs. West format at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. on the day of the MLS All-Star Game, Wednesday, August 10. The 44 players were chosen by the MLS NEXT Player Selection Committee, which is made up of key MLS Player Development department personnel, following the conclusion of the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase.
Players must be U-18 (born in 2004 or earlier) and have competed in one of the MLS NEXT national showcase events this season, including MLS NEXT Fest, MLS NEXT Flex, Generation adidas Cup, and MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase.
The match will be streamed live and further tune-in details will be available at a later date. Admission to the MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate at the National Sports Center is free of cost.