Adversity is nothing new to Ustruck though who rebounded from a knee injury during his junior year at Santa Clara University and capped of his senior year by being drafted by the Houston Dynamo in third round of the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft.
After limited playing time and exposure in Houston, the Dynamo loaned Ustruck to the Austin Aztex and returned to Houston where he come on in substitution roles in a pair of games. He then was released in March 2010 and was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL.
A broken leg curtailed his playing time and ability to make a mark with the team in Tampa. His reputation as a gritty player, and his playing resume was enough to land him a multi-year contract with the USL Pro Orlando City in March 2011.
He was part of the club’s USL Pro Championship in 2011 and feels his team has a great chance to defend its title. They currently sit atop the standings with 23 points from 10 matches.
The USL Pro isn’t the glamorous life of the MLS but Ustruck is able to put it all in prospective.
“The injury was a minor set back in Tampa,” he said. “I wanted to recover from it and was able to push on.”
Being part of a top USL Pro team, one that has been rumored as a possible expansion candidate for the MLS, is something Ustruck relishes.
“It was great to be a part of that and I am enjoying my time down there,” he said. “We have a very strong team and I think we can do it again so we are looking to win another championship this year.”
Orlando took on Sporting KC in the fourth round of the US Open Cup tournament. His team lost the match 3-2, but not before he was able to impose his presence in the match.
Ustruck was instrumental in Orlando’s tying goal as he made a run from his right back position down the flank. He outworked the Sporting midfield before slotting a pass into the middle, which was buried into the back of the net and tied the game 1-1.
“It was a good run of play,” he said. “We had some good stuff but we lost our shape a few times on defense, but we had a decent showing.”
It would be easy for a lot of players to get distracted with talk of your team becoming a possible MLS expansion team, or what MLS scouts are watching your games, but Ustruck insists the best thing for him, and his teammates, to do is focus on the next task at hand.
“We are aware of it (possible expansion), there are talks here and there,” he said. “It isn’t something the guys like to get caught up in. We just want to take every game one at a time and focus on the competition and the match at hand.”
Ustruck hasn’t given up hope for one-day returning to the MLS though.
“I am really enjoying my time in Orlando,” he said. “I would really like to make a career of it here. If there is an MLS team here I would like to be a part of it. Having said that, St. Louis has a great opportunity as well with the great fan base. Their only problem was not getting the fans out and I think that is a huge issue when the commissioner looks at the numbers and those sorts of things.”
Ustruck is hopeful that his hometown can become part of the professional soccer landscape as well.
“St. Louis is a hotbed for soccer,” he said. “There are lots of great players that come out of there. As long as St. Louis continues to produce there will be fans and the potential for a professional team there. We will just have to wait and see what happens.”