As a new signing for RSL in 2019, Justin Portillo came into his first team contract after spending a year with the Real Monarchs where he made 32 appearances while scoring two goals and assisting on six more. His performance in his debut season with the Monarchs earned him the team MVP honors in 2018.
Prior to signing with the Monarchs, he spent a few years with the Charleston Battery where he notched 18 goals in 104 appearances for the USL side.
In February of 2019 following his MVP-worthy performance with the Monarchs, the New Orleans native was signed by RSL to a full contract with the first team. While he only made four appearances in his first year with RSL (two of those were made in the starting eleven), he logged 194 minutes in total and fired off one shot.
The 27-year-old midfielder had a tough time breaking into the starting lineup with a host of other players fighting for playing time in the midfield. He spent much of the season on loan with the Monarchs, making 20 appearances and notching two goals and four assists in the Monarchs’ championship title campaign.
Now with the departure of Kelyn Rowe who’s back with New England, Portillo could be next in line to get some extra minutes as a holding midfielder, depending on the situation with Kyle Beckerman next season (whether Kyle comes back in a reduced role, or even comes back at all). He’ll also likely fall behind Nick Besler in the pecking order, but with Besler suffering an injury back in August that effectively ended his season, his health at the start of next season could be a factor in whether Portillo sees more playing time or not.
Regardless, it’s safe to say that RSL wants to keep Justin Portillo in the organization for the foreseeable future as they just exercised his option going into the 2020 season. He’ll most likely see a good amount of appearances for the Monarchs again, but don’t be surprised if we see him play more than four games for the first team this time around.