Orlando City SC has parted ways with veteran defender Gustavo and Jamaican forward/midfielder Akeil Barrett, one of the club's two second-round picks in January's MLS SuperDraft.
The Lions announced the cuts today, but neither could exactly be labeled a surprise. Gustavo started the first preseason game at center back, but had been replaced recently by multiple players, including draftee Conor Donovan.
Barrett has looked overmatched by MLS players in the early preseason and also may have struggled to pick up Adrian Heath's system. With the season looming, City was always going to trim the roster down and Barrett and Gustavo are the first casualties.
So what does it mean?
First of all, it means Orlando City's roster now stands at 28 players, heading into tomorrow's preseason friendly against Swedish side BK Häcken. It also opens up at least one international slot (Gustavo's) and possibly two, unless the club was already planning to start Barrett off in Louisville this year.
By cutting Barrett, the Lions have removed one player from a crowded midfield and have a little better idea of what the final roster might look like. Gustavo being cut is a little more surprising when you consider the lack of depth at center back.
Currently, Orlando City has Aurelien Collin, Donovan, Tommy Redding and trialist Sean St. Ledger, who is a rumored signing. waiving Gustavo might be the club's first step to making that happen. A former Ipswich Town, Leicester City, Millwall, Middlesbrough and Preston North End player, and also a Republic of Ireland international, St. Ledger recently tried out for D.C. United but was let go. United has a pretty solid lineup of back line players.
If St. Ledger signs, the Lions will be at their maximum of 29 players, although we've heard that roster limit may be trimmed a bit before the season starts.
Barrett was originally drafted by Orlando City with the 25th overall pick in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft after a four-year collegiate career with the University of Akron and the University of Tulsa. The Brazilian Gustavo joined the Lions in early January, after stints with various clubs in Brazil.
By the way, that friendly tomorrow at 2 p.m. against BK Häcken is closed to the public but media (including us) will be on hand at Sylvan Lake Park to bring you the action.