Orlando City has waived starting center back Sean St. Ledger, as first reported by Orlando Sentinel Lions beat writer Paul Tenorio. The Mane Land has been able to independently confirm per our sources.
This is a surprising move just a day before an important Eastern Conference match against the Columbus Crew. Seb Hines will likely start next to Aurelien Collin but there is no depth on the club in case one of the two can't complete the match. In an emergency situation, Pedro Ribeiro or Luke Boden could play center back. Ribeiro has played center back in USL and Boden is versatile enough to step in if needed.
Young depth players Tommy Redding and Conor Donovan have been loaned to USL clubs Wilmington and Pittsburgh, respectively.
By waiving St. Ledger, the club opens up an international slot for Spanish defender David Mateos, who was signed earlier in the week, but who was "expected in the coming weeks" according to a club release, as he works his way through the visa process. St. Ledger seemed to be favored over Hines, having started the last five MLS matches and 14 of the 15 appearances he's made this season.
Why St. Ledger instead of Hines? St. Ledger requires an international slot, whereas Hines does not. In addition, Ledge is 30 years old, three years Hines' senior. The difference in cost is negligible, as St. Ledger's base salary was $124,992, compared to Seb's base of $108,576. There is, however, a bigger gulf in their guaranteed money ($147,492 for St. Ledger and $109,826 for Hines).
St. Ledger logged 1,213 minutes in his 15 appearances, tallying six shots, with two of those on net. He committed just 12 fouls and received only one yellow card. His only goal in purple came in Orlando City's friendly against Ponte Preta.
The Lions were definitely in need of back line help. The club has yielded 12 goals in the last four competitive matches, and eight in the last two.
The timing of this thing is curious. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.