Orlando City made a move today during the Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft and signed former New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston with the seventh pick. The only other player selected in Stage 2 was ex-Houston Dynamo Jermaine Taylor by the MLS champion Portland Timbers.
Alston has spent his whole professional career with the Revs, appearing in 148 matches. The 5-foot-8 fullback is a product of Indiana University's tradition of excellent college soccer.
The No. 10 overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Alston was selected to the MLS All-Star Game during the 2010 season. He was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia -- a treatable form of leukemia -- in 2013 and took a leave of absence in April of that year to receive treatment. He returned to action in July of the same year and won the MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award at the end of 2013.
Alston started in nine matches and appeared in a total of 16 for New England in 2015 amassing 932 minutes, one shot, eight fouls, and two yellow cards. The 27-year-old is an outside back that likes to get forward in the attack, which will fit perfectly in Adrian Heath's 4-2-3-1 formation. He is not known for his goals, as he has scored only one in MLS play, which came against Tally Hall's Houston Dynamo in 2014.
This move gives Orlando some more depth at the outside back position, which currently features Luke Boden, Brek Shea, Tyler Turner, and Rafael Ramos on the roster. Turner will be spending most of his time on Orlando City B. This gives Heath the opportunity to use Shea as a midfielder like we've seen this past year. Alston could spell one of the outside backs if there is an injury or discipline issue and is comfortable on the right, giving Heath an additional option for Ramos.
If you compare this to letting go Corey Ashe, Orlando City got a younger and quicker outside back at a lower price. Alston's base salary was $40,000 less than Ashe's in 2015 and City can negotiate with its new fullback because he was a Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft pick-up.
What do you think of Orlando City's first signing for 2016?