There aren’t too many who’ll swap sunny California for old Belfast town, especially before winter’s out, but that’s what Glentoran’s latest signing has just done...
On picking up the news yesterday, the name certainly rung a bell. Dillon Powers, now where had I heard of him before?
Given it was a transatlantic move it had to be from my days watching MLS in Montreal. A scoot back into my Montreal Impact records and there it was. A goal and an assist in a game I watched way back in 2013, when Powers, then a Colorado Rapids player was named MLS Rookie of the Year.
He might even recall the game. A 4-3 win with a 96th minute winner, on the road... it’s one that could just stick in the mind!
He was a number 8 in those days, a central midfielder who liked to dictate the play from centre-field. He had 4 good seasons at the Rapids mainly under Argentine coach Pablo Mastroeni, reaching the Western Conference Final in 2016 only to lose out to the Seattle Sounders.
Three seasons followed at Orlando City, where playing time was more limited, but he still managed to rub shoulders with some illustrious team-mates. At Orlando he could count on Kaka (Brazil) and former Manchester United winger, Nani (Portugal), while at Colorado his last line of defence was none other than Tim Howard, the former Everton and Manchester United ‘keeper.
Powers was almost offered a contract at Reading in 2015 but after extending his trial period by a further month, hopes were dashed after current Scotland boss, Steve Clarke was relieved of his head coaching duties in Berkshire.
But his opportunity to play league football in Britain would eventually be realized after joining Dundee United in 2019, helping the Tannadice club to promotion from the Scottish Championship in 2019/20 and making 14 SPL appearances the following season.
He swapped tangerine for the orange of Orange County SC last year and helped his new club to the USL Championship (2nd tier, one level below MLS). Orange County, an official partner of Glasgow Rangers, defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies at the latter’s Al Lang Stadium 3-1 to carry off the cup. Powers had scored twice in penalty shoot-outs during the successful play-off run.
Now Powers (31) returns for a second spell in British football, where no doubt he’ll be hoping to add another Championship medal to the one he won at Tannadice.
Footnote: Dillon Powers represented USA in the u20 World Cup staged in Egypt in 2009. All three group games were played at the Mubarak Stadium in Suez. The USA lost to both Germany and South Korea and defeated Cameroon, failing to emerge beyond the group stage.