Despite making offseason moves that raised several eyebrows, Orlando City’s 2016 roster is starting to take shape heading into the new calendar year.
The Lions opted not to exercise the contract option on seven players after their inaugural Major League Soccer season. Tony Cascio’s contract expired at the end of the 2015 season.
The player exodus that many Orlando City fans saw late last month resulted in a slight division in the fan base. Veteran MLS goalkeeper and fan-favorite Tally Hall left the club after only one season, and longtime Orlando City figure and assistant coach Ian Fuller saw the exit door, also.
However, things seemed to simmer down when Orlando City brought back Lewis Neal after the club originally denied to exercise his contract option. Neal has since joined Orlando City B of the United Soccer League.
The first offseason move the Lions made was signing 18-year-old goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar to an MLS homegrown player contact in November. MLS defender Kevin Alston was acquired by Orlando City on Thursday in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry draft. The 27-year-old veteran fullback played six years with the New England Revolution.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik, 26, followed suit on Monday when Orlando City announced it sent a conditional 2017 fourth-round draft pick for the the goalkeeper’s services.
Orlando City will begin the 2016 MLS season at home when they host Real Salt Lake on Sunday, March 6 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.
Below is the most current Orlando City roster (25) for the 2016 season.Also included are the team’s international slots.
Head coach: Adrian Heath
Assistant coach: Mark Watson, Stewart Kerr
GOALKEEPERS (3): Joe Bendik, Earl Edwards Jr., Mason Stajduhar (HGP)
DEFENDERS (10): Aurélien Collin, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos, Brek Shea, Tyler Turner (HGP), Luke Boden, Tommy Redding (HGP), Conor Donovan, Kevin Alston
MIDFIELDERS (9): Ricardo Kaká (DP), Kevin Molino, Servando Carrasco, Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Harrison Heath (HGP), Estrela, Pedro Ribeiro, Adrian Winter
FORWARDS (3): Bryan Róchez (DP), Carlos Rivas (DP), Cyle Larin
- HGP = Homegrown player
- DP = Designated player
Orlando City international player slots (9/10)
ALSO: I was curious on Róchez’s status of attaining his United States residency. So, according to his agent, Gonzalo Clavijo, the striker isn’t getting his green card anytime soon. So if Orlando City wanted to sign an international player, which I expect they will, it would have to trade a current player to open up an international slot.