Josh Ford was called into action in the last match of the season for Orlando City after a 16-game loan spell with North American Soccer League side Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Ford was originally drafted by the Seattle Sounders in 2011 and did not see action with the MLS team. He joined Orlando City via the re-entry draft this year and didn't make his impact until the last two matches.
Ford was having a nice statistical season with the Strikers. He started 16 matches, earning a 1.56 goals-against average. Ford was recalled from his loan late in the season when backup goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. picked up an injury in training. He made his MLS debut when Tally Hall went down late in the match against New York City FC. Ford started the last match against the Philadelphia Union where he made five saves in a 1-0 loss.
The only match Ford played a factor in was the Union game. He won man of the match honors from our player grades and made two timely saves in the first half. The only thing about the game was he looked a little shaky on crosses and sometimes he came out and was in no man's land. He was not at fault for the one goal from the penalty spot. The saves he did make in the first half were some of the best of the month for the viewer. At first glance, it looked like Ford could have directed those saves out of the dangerous area in front of his goal. If you do take a look at the saves, you will notice these balls are moving around, which makes any hand to the ball quite the achievement. Ford's play was good but there wasn't a lot to be excited about after the two highlight reel saves.
Ford's grade for the year is Incomplete. He is extremely athletic and is an excellent shot stopper, as he demonstrated in the Union match. Ford is the third choice goalkeeper on the club. His future in Orlando could be in jeopardy if Tally Hall's injury takes longer to heal than anticipated. The team might look for a veteran to hold down the job like Donovan Ricketts did this year and then back him up while Edwards Jr. gets matches with Orlando City B.
Ford might find time as a backup to Orlando City B, but he needs to improve upon his decision making on crosses. The Orlando City organization will need at the minimum four goalkeepers between the two teams. The question will be, did they see enough of Ford to keep him or will they look for a proven veteran to back up Hall and have Edwards Jr. and possibly a 2016 Draft Pick to gain experience in USL?