With the shocking departure of fan-favorite goalkeeper Tally Hall last winter, Earl Edwards Jr. was left as the only goalkeeper on the roster and the presumptive No. 1 goalkeeper heading into training camp. However, Joe Bendik’s arrival soon after would change the look of the depth chart for the rest of the season.
Edwards Jr. has yet to appear in an MLS contest for Orlando City in either of his two years with the club now. The Lions’ third-round SuperDraft pick in 2015 started both of the club’s U.S. Open Cup matches this season — at Jacksonville Armada in June and vs. the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in July — in addition to a couple of games with Orlando City B in the USL.
Edwards’s best game for the club has to be the 1-0 win over the Armada in the Open Cup back on June 15. The 43rd overall pick earned a shutout for the Lions, and even though he wasn’t called into action much throughout the night, he did make a couple of key saves in that game that helped propel the Lions on to the next round in the tournament.
2016 Final Rating
Unfortunately, Edwards’ season doesn’t warrant an official grade on our grading scale due to the significant lack of playing time. As a site, we’ve given the young keeper an incomplete.
It’s tough to say what the future holds for Edwards Jr. at this point. The Lions’ backup goalkeeper was once seen as a future No. 1 for the club, but that was also before Bendik’s meteoric rise within the club this season and a mid-season coaching change. Edwards still has a bright future, and his best opportunity to get meaningful minutes next season will probably be outside of Orlando, but if the club doesn’t move him and still feels set with keeping him around for another season behind Bendik in 2017, he could be set to remain the Lions’ No. 2 once again.