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2013 Player Profiles: Yordany Alvarez gains a reputation for recklessness

USA TODAY Sports

Yordany Alvarez saw 2013 as the year in which he gained a reputation for recklessness.

After going a year and change without a red card for Real Salt Lake, and after only one yellow card in 2012, Alvarez found himself the subject of intensive criticism for sometimes reckless play. This was, of course, aided by the fact that he was on the wrong end of an MLS Disciplinary Committee in August that saw him suspended for three matches, but the reputation had been simmering before then.

It all rather ignores the fact that he was an efficient-if-unspectacular replacement for Kyle Beckerman at the base of the diamond. His play was never quite as nice, but he had a similar level of bite to his game (for better or worse) and was a very effective passer in the captain's stead. There were concerted efforts from the team to find another position for the player - perhaps further ahead in the diamond - so as to get him and Beckerman into the match at the same time.

It never quite worked out well enough to continue, and Alvarez was left as a backup through his RSL career. As a player who stepped into difficult situations, he did some fantastic things, including scoring the solitary goal in a 1-0 win over Toronto FC. But he never strung together more than five starts, and he's certainly capable of more than that - just not ahead of Kyle Beckerman.

He's since been loaned to Orlando City SC, and he will join them on a permanent basis when they enter MLS in 2015. It's the side he joined (when they were Austin Aztex the first time around) when he came over from Cuba as a refugee, and that makes for a fine story.

Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles recapping the 2013 season and previewing the 2014 season. Player ratings were compiled via a vote by RSL Soapbox writers. Statistics are via mlssoccer.com.