Saturday’s 1–0 victory over the Charleston Battery was not just exciting because it meant that soccer is back, it was also the first time that fans got a peek and some of the players on trial with the team. While you might not have known their names or anything about them, you were able to watch and see if they have “it.”
Well, I’ve done some digging to find as much info as I could on the trialists and I want to bring everyone up to speed. Let’s jump in!
Alex Tejera — Forward
Tejera is a product of the New York Red Bulls Academy who played at Siena College. He also spent time with the PDL side New York Red Bulls U23s where he was teammates with former Triumph player Kevin Politz. At Siena, Tejera totaled 20 goals in his four years as a striker.
Tejera is listed as 6'2" and 180lbs. He is a native of Ossining, NY, and even played as a place kicker for his high school football team.
My Observation: Because the team played in training gear on Saturday, I wasn’t able to always follow who I was looking at. Because of this, some of the guys I do not have a solid read on yet. Alex is one of those. I hope to pay more attention to him on Saturday versus the Independence.
Noah Pilato — Midfielder
Noah last played for Loundoun United, the USL Championship affiliate of DC United, where he had one goal in 13 appearances. Prior to last season, Noah played his collegiate ball at Penn State. He spent his collegiate summers playing in USL League Two for a team now known as Treasure Coast Tritons (formerly North County FC and South Florida Surf) and Evergreen FC.
The Oak Hill, VA native is listed at 5'9" and 146lbs.
My Observation: Noah is another guy I want to watch closer this coming Saturday, but he has typically played as a more defensive midfielder throughout his career. His distribution is next-level (see highlights below) and would fit nicely with the Triumph’s seemingly new attack-mindedness. There are a TON of great midfielders on this roster, but Noah is a guy I could see competing for some real playing time.
Adrian Nunez — Midfielder
Adrian Nunez split his collegiate career between the Univeristy of North Florida and Clemson University. He is also a familiar face to upstate soccer fans as he spent last summer playing for Greenville FC of the NPSL. Nunez scored 21 goals in his collegiate career.
Adrian is listed at 5'7" and 150lbs. He is a from San Jose, Costa Rica.
My Observation: As great as it would be to sign a guy who has called the upstate his home for the last few years, I just don’t see it happening. His play on the wing on Saturday was ok, but he is not as good as Alex Morrell, and I don’t think a team that currently has 6 internationals on it can afford to spend a spot on Adrian.
Lachlan McLean — Midfielder
Lachlan played four years of college soccer at SIU Edwardsville. While there, McLean racked up 20 goals and 11 assists in 61 appearances. Prior to coming to SIUE, Lachlan played in the U20 National Premier League in New South Wales. During his time in that league, from 2013–2015, he scored 50 goals in 61 games.
Lachlan is listed at 6'0" and 180lbs. He is from Sydney, Australia.
My Observation: Ok. I’ve been waiting to get to this one since I started cranking out this article. Lachlan was hands down the most impressive trialist to me on Saturday. Though he’s listed as a midfielder, which I cannot figure out because he has seemingly been a striker his whole career, he played up top for the first ~60 minutes on Saturday. This guy is tough. He is gritty. He was not about to be knocked down or bullied by the larger Battery defenders. I WANT THIS GUY ON MY TEAM! Don’t believe me? Just watch this and tell me you’re not ready to sign this guy TODAY!
Cesar Murillo — Defender
So, Cesar’s trajectory is fun. He’s gone from the FC Dallas Academy, to the College of Charleston, back to Dallas to play for North Texas SC, and now back to South Carolina on trial with the Triumph. Murillo had 12 appearances for North Texas last season, but was a cornerstone of the back line during his collegiate career and even notched two goals during his time in Charleston.
Cesar is listed at 6'0" and 165lbs. He is a native of El Paso, Texas.
My Observation: Coach John Harkes specifically mentioned Cesar and Trevor (who we’ll get to next) in his post-game comments as guys he was impressed with. I think having defensive depth is going to be super important this season so I think Cesar would be a great addition.
But there’s another reason I am full-on #TeamCesar.
After the match was over, after the players and coaches had gone to the locker room and fans had left the stadium, Cesar was running sprints on the touchline. No one told him to do that. He wasn’t being punished from what I could tell. It was just a guy giving everything he had to get better. That’s the kind of player I want on my team.
Trevor Swartz — Defender
Trevor made 6 appearances for Toronto FC II last season and has also spent a summer playing for the St. Louis FC U23 squad in USL League Two. While he has not had a ton of experience as a professional, he did thrive as a player at Indiana University where he totaled 12 goals and 27 assists in his career.
Trevor is listed at 5'10" and 155lbs. He is a native of Cameron Park, CA.
My Observation: As I mentioned above, Trevor was one of two names that Coach Harkes mentioned in his post-game interview. Trevor is also another utility knife in terms of his field position. He’s listed here as a defender, but mostly played in the midfield in college. I actually think he is perfect for that wingback-type role that is often played by the likes of Tyler Polak.
I’m putting a break in here, because we didn’t get to see either of the trialist goalkeepers on Saturday. I’m simply going to give you what information I have on these two, but I cannot really give you observations. What I will say is that the coaches thought enough of Miguel to bring him back on trial. I think the biggest hangup there is going to be his international status. In my opinion he is, sadly, not a guy you can afford to use an international slot on.
Santiago Restrepo — Goalkeeper
Santiago played his collegiate soccer at USC Upstate and Coker College. He played amateur summer soccer for Lansing United in the NPSL and Kaw Valley FC in USL League Two. Prior to coming on trial with the Triumph, he played professionally at Arsenal FC Roatan in Honduras.
Santiago is listed at 6'1" and 180lbs. He is a native of Greenville, SC, and played at Eastside High School.
Miguel Uribe — Goalkeeper
Miguel is a name quite familiar to Triumph fans as he was the team’s backup goalkeeper last year. He saw his only action of the season against the Richmond Kickers while Dallas Jaye was out on international duty. Miguel played his collegiate soccer at Graceland University and Southern Wesleyan University.
Miguel is listed at 5'9" and 180 lbs. He is a native of Bogota, Colombia.
After only one match of observation, I certainly have thoughts on who I think will make the final cut for the team. But I am not there with them everyday in training. I also want to wait and see what happens on Saturday as the Triumph welcome the Charlotte Independence.
Make sure you come out to Alumni Stadium at Bob Jones University. The match is FREE so you’ve got no excuse!