As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando City has signed midfield stalwart Darwin Cerén to a new four-year contract on Wednesday. Following last season's standout performances, this new contract includes what the report calls a "significant" increase in Cerén's salary, in addition to numerous performance-based escalators.
The dollar amount is not specified, as MLS player salaries are not released until later in the year, but Cerén's $66,000 base salary made him one of the best value players in the league in 2015 relative to his performance level.
In signing Cerén on a new deal, the club took a major step in solidifying its midfield for the next several years. The 26-year-old stood out in his 26 appearances (25 starts) during the Lions' inaugural MLS season. His presence in the defensive midfield allowed Kaká to work his play-making magic and provided cover to Orlando's back line.
In addition to his defensive responsibilities, Cerén also chipped in with his own offensive contributions, including his long-range effort in OCSC's 4-0 thrashing of the LA Galaxy. In total, he contributed two goals and two assists. Cerén was rewarded for his strong performances by being named the club's MVP, and he was also the inaugural winner of the MLS Latino del Año award.
Cerén initially signed with the Lions during their time in USL, joining from Salvadorian club Juventud Independiente in 2014. Along with his club credentials, Cerén has been a fixture for the El Savador national team since 2012.