clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Where are They Now? Checking In on the Lions Who Left Orlando in 2015

New, 2 comments

After wrapping up the 2015 season last week, Orlando City can already start thinking about next year. But what about the Lions who left the club this season? Let's take a look at what Martin Paterson, Amobi Okugo, Sean St. Ledger and Donovan Ricketts have been up to since leaving Orlando.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 season was an eventful one for Orlando City, as the club went from expansion write-offs to the brink of an historic playoff appearance. While most of the players the Lions brought into their inaugural campaign are still with the club, four have since departed for greener pastures.

Despite how brief their time in purple may have been, these guys will always be part of a select group of "original Lions." Here's a look at what they've been up to since leaving the club.

F Martin Paterson: Four appearances with Orlando City

Oh, Martin. I had such hope for you.

When the Lions brought in this Northern Irish striker on loan from Huddersfield Town, he was widely seen as a potential starter. After all, Paterson boasted Premier League experience and seemed like a natural fit atop Adrian Heath's 4-2-3-1 formation.

But after a hamstring injury sidelined him during the preseason, Paterson didn't make his Orlando debut until May 17 against the LA Galaxy. As he worked his way back to match fitness, Paterson suffered an MCL injury that knocked him out for even longer.

And then Cyle Larin happened.

With their situation at striker looking good, Orlando was more than happy to let Paterson walk. He's since found his way back to England, signing with third division side Blackpool last month.

It seems like a good fit for Paterson, as the recently relegated club shouldn't have trouble with League One competition. Hard to root against a guy who never really got a fair shake in purple.

MF Amobi Okugo: 15 appearances with Orlando City

It's still feels a little weird putting Amobi Okugo on this list, because he seemed like a sure thing when the Lions picked up over the off-season. A mainstay for the Philadelphia Union, Okugo was rumored to be looking at a move to Europe before signing with the Lions.

He earned a starting spot on Orlando's opening day roster and saw plenty of playing time early in the season, before gradually falling out of favor with Adrian Heath. Coupled with the improved play of Cristian Higuita, Okugo became expendable and was traded to Sporting Kansas City for fellow midfielder Servando Carrasco midway through the season. Since arriving with Sporting, Okugo has only seen the pitch twice.

Keep in mind, one of the big reasons Alex Morgan came to Orlando Pride was to be close to her husband, so it's not a stretch to say that the Lions also got one of the best women's soccer players in the world through the Okugo deal. Shrewd move by the front office.

D Sean St. Ledger: 15 appearances with Orlando City

Sean St. Ledger had an interesting tenure in Orlando, starting off as fringe bench player before earning a semi-regular starting spot in the back line. He was also involved in perhaps the most unlikely Taylor Swift boyfriend rumors in MLS history.

And then, during one trip to New York City, everything went horribly wrong (with the Lions, not Swift).

St. Ledger was cut for a "serious breach of club policy," which was never fully explained by Orlando City. He signed with Colorado to finish out the 2015 season, making four appearances with the Rapids. Here's a video about that signing that has 102 views.

It's hard not to think that with all the injuries the club suffered, St. Ledger could have become a mainstay in Orlando's back line. But whatever "bad blood" Orlando City had with Irish defender proved to be too much to overcome. I'll see myself out.

GK Donovan Ricketts: 10 appearances for Orlando City

Donovan Ricketts raised some eyebrows when the Lions selected him with the first pick in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft, but the veteran keeper proved to be exactly what Orlando City needed this season.

Ricketts stood in for Tally Hall while the former Houston Dynamo keeper recovered from injury, but once he was match fit, Hall took over starting duties in goal. That made Ricketts expendable, and when the LA Galaxy needed a keeper midway through the season, they made a trade for the big Jamaican.

Ricketts was pretty solid during his time in Orlando, but didn't play well for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night, in what could prove to be his final MLS appearance. Starting in goal during their knockout round match-up with the Seattle Sounders, Ricketts let in two soft goals in a 3-2 defeat. He even got into it with Steven Gerrard.