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San Jose Earthquakes forward Matt Luzunaris returns to Orlando City SC on a permanent transfer

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Matt Luzunaris only played 63 first team minutes with the Earthquakes, but he did see plenty of playing time in the reserves and in their summer friendly against West Bromwich Albion.
Matt Luzunaris only played 63 first team minutes with the Earthquakes, but he did see plenty of playing time in the reserves and in their summer friendly against West Bromwich Albion.

Following his release by the San Jose Earthquakes at the conclusion of the 2011 MLS season, forward Matt Luzunaris signed a new contract with USL-1 side Orlando City SC. Luzunaris is familiar to the Orlando City organization, as he appeared in three games for the Lions while on a short-term summer loan. In those three matches, the striker netted two goals — one against EPL side Bolton Wanderers in a summer friendly.

Luzunaris signed with the Earthquakes during the preseason, after previously playing in Austria. The 22-year old featured in six games for San Jose, all as a substitute, and totaled 63 minutes of playing time. Luzunaris had much more of an impact playing with the Earthquakes reserve side, but that success did not translate to too many opportunities with the first team.

Luzunaris made the Earthquakes matchday 18 on a number of occasions during the regular season, but was often left unused by head coach Frank Yallop. Over the last two months of the season, he competed for playing time with forward Maxwell Griffin, a player on loan with the Quakes from Orlando City SC. Griffin was also released at the conclusion of the 2011 season and returned to his Florida side.

Luzunaris and Griffin shared the field for a single game in the Earthquakes season — both came on as substitutes late in a September 17th 2-1 road loss to the Houston Dynamo — and are expected to have the opportunity to resume their striking partnership with the Lions in the 2012 USL-1 season.