Orlando City fans will see three familiar faces back on the roster in 2017 as the club has re-signed three players from the 2016 squad. Defenders Seb Hines and Kevin Alston and midfielder Servando Carrasco will all return after signing new deals. Carrasco was out of contract, while the two defenders did not have their contract options picked up in November.
The returns of Hines and Alston are somehow surprising as both had their contract options declined by the club on Nov. 23, alongside Luke Boden, Júlio Baptista, Pedro Ribeiro and Tyler Turner. English defender Hines signed a three-year deal, while American fullback Alson will return for one more season. Carrasco signed a deal to extend his time in Orlando for two more seasons.
“Servando, Kevin and Seb proved to be important assets for our team last year and we are excited to keep them,” said General Manager Niki Budalic in a club statement.
Hines, 28, is set for his third season as Lion as the defender signed with the club after its MLS debut. The center back has played 49 matches for the club, which is good enough to place him third on the team in all-time in MLS appearances, and he has scored four goals. His three-year contract is surprising, considering the recurring knee issues he has experienced in the past.
Alston, 28, was selected by Orlando City in the 2015 MLS Re-Entry Draft after seven years with the New England Revolution. The right back played 24 matches for Orlando in 2016, 21 of them as a starter, and was an important piece of the team in the second half of the season.
Carrasco signed with Orlando City in July 2015, acquired through a transfer from Sporting Kansas City in the trade for Amobi Okugo. The 28-year-old defensive midfielder has played 43 matches for the team, with 31 starts, notching four assists.
The returns of Hines and Alston give Orlando City plenty of defensive depth entering the season. The Lions now have four fullbacks — Alston, Rafael Ramos, Victor “PC” Giro, and Donny Toia. At center back, Orlando City currently has Hines, Jose Aja, David Mateos, Tommy Redding, and Conor Donovan, with a rumored move for Gregory Sertic expected to be completed soon, per reports from Orlando Sentinel reporter Alicia DelGallo.