Orlando City has acquired former New York City FC goalkeeper Josh Saunders in a trade that sends Orlando’s fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft to NYCFC.
The club wasted no time bringing on another goalkeeper as the exchange comes a day after trading Patrick McClain to Minnesota as part of the Kevin Molino deal.
Saunders has played with NYCFC for the past two years, and rejoins current Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis. Saunders brings a veteran presence to the team that Kreis has been looking for this off-season. The 35-year-old goalkeeper is a three-time MLS Cup winner, once with San Jose and twice with Los Angeles, and is a two-time Supporters’ Shield winner.
Jason Kreis will be hoping that Saunders can replicate his recent success with NYCFC, where he started 33 games each of his last two seasons. In 2015, Saunders led MLS in saves with 123 and last season the California native put up 98 saves and 8 shutouts to propel NYCFC to the playoffs.
“Josh is a veteran MLS goalkeeper that will add championship experience, leadership and depth to our side with 125 appearances in 11 years in the league,” Lions General Manager Niki Budalic said in a club press release. “[Head coach] Jason Kreis is very familiar with Josh from his time in New York and Real Salt Lake and is looking forward to working with him again.”
Saunders will be the backup to the 2016 Orlando City Player of the Year, Joe Bendik. This move will likely send Earl Edwards down to OCB to join Mason Stajduhar and Jake Fenlason.