After joining the Lions early last year, Seb Hines came into year two in Orlando looking to build on what ended up being a disappointing season on the back line. Originally chosen to start alongside youngster Tommy Redding, after a preseason injury sidelined David Mateos, Hines struggled to maintain a consistent level of play throughout the season, missing games with injury and wasn't able to get consistent minutes.
In and out of the starting lineup with a recurring knee problem, Hines' style of play was favorable to former Head Coach Adrian Heath, prompting the team to trade Aurélien Collin. The Englishman partnered on the back line mostly with Redding, but also had time with David Mateos in stints throughout the season. Once José Aja came around, Hines was phased out of the starting lineup, but ended up finishing out the season after Mateos went down with a season-ending injury.
The 28-year-old made 26 MLS appearances for the Lions in 2016, starting 23 of those games and playing 2,105 minutes, which was three more games and 180 minutes more than last year. He scored three goals -- two more than he did last year -- but once again did not register an assist.
He took 27 shots this season, almost doubling his total from last year. Most of his shots were headers off corners and set pieces. Hines passed at an 80.6% clip, a slight decrease from last year and the worst accuracy out of any of the other three center backs.
Primarily used as the more aggressive center back, Hines was fourth in tackles per game, third in interceptions (behind Mateos and Aja), third in fouls per game -- receiving seven yellow cards over the course of the year -- and second in clearances.
Hines' bad games outweighed his good ones this year, unfortunately. His best game was a toss up between the match against San Jose or the game against Portland, but we decided to go with his performance against the Timbers.
Not only did he score on the night, but he helped hold the reigning MLS Cup champions to only one goal. As I wrote in the player grades that night:
Seb and his magical forehead struck again. With Kaká back in the lineup and on set pieces, it was only a matter of time before he knocked in a header. Besides scoring the first goal, Hines was impressive on the defensive end. He came up with multiple attack-stopping tackles and held Adi, Asprilla and Melano quiet up top.
Before the season began, Hines did score four goals against Brazilian club Bahia, but because that's just preseason, it doesn't count. Good times though.
2016 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff aggregated a score of 5 out of 10 overall for Hines on the year. His total playing time dipped once Aja came into the fold through the last few months of the season. The final game Hines played in this year saw him give up a simple goal to D.C. United off a slow back pass to Joe Bendik, which just kind of compiled the entire season into a nutshell for the defender.
Hines' 2016 base salary of $150,000 is not all that cheap, although not bad for a center back. He's the eighth-highest paid player on Orlando City and after this season, he really didn't earn his spot. He is still an intriguing player, since he not only has English Championship experience, but also American citizenship, which doesn't take up an international roster spot. This could keep Hines on the team as a reserve player, but personally, I think that his time in Orlando has come to an end. A lot of the players respect him and some of the younger guys look up to him, but after a second season with the Lions and the performances he's put in, I'm not sure if the team would rather look somewhere else to find a new center back.