As we have reported over the last few days, some big roster moves have been made in terms of the defense for Orlando City SC. On Thursday, Brazilian defender Gustavo, aka "The Fridge," was waived, as was forward draft pick Akeil Barrett. This came as a big surprise for most people, considering Gustavo was pegged as the starting center back when he was signed in early January.
As soon as he was announced as signing for the Lions, many fans from Brazil made comments about his inability to play consistently and to often make very rash challenges. One month after signing and training with the team, he was unable to adjust to the move stateside and, since the club had other options on the horizon, City decided to let the defender go.
Speaking of those other options, we told you on Tuesday that Orlando City was bringing in Sean St. Ledger, an Irish national with playing experience in the English Championship, as well as an unknown defender. We have now since learned that defender is English-American Seb Hines, who has spent his entire career with Middlesborough or on loan from that club.
Since 2006, after being promoted to the senior squad, Hines has had three loan spells at Derby County, Oldham Athletic and, most recently, with Coventry County, where he played nine games in 2014. The dual national is listed as being on a six-month loan to the Lions, with the option to buy if the team wants to keep him.
The big upsides for bringing both of these players into the squad is not only filling the needs on defense, but they are both fairly versatile. Both Hines and St. Ledger have experience playing center back as well as right back, which is still a question mark for Adrian Heath. As much as Tyler Turner and Rafael Ramos are good young prospects, I personally don't think either are quite ready to start an MLS game right now.
Having the option of putting experienced players back on the defensive line will hopefully give the younger guys a chance to mature in training or on loan stints to Louisville City. Both Turner and Ramos are slated to head to New Zealand in the summer to compete in the FIFA U-20 World Cup as well, so it was important for Orlando to have players that could fill the void left by them come May.
As far as the roster movement goes, these are probably the last signings that the club will do. With only a few weeks left until the Carolina Challenge Cup, now the team needs to focus on getting the chemistry together and learning Adrian Heath's system.