Orlando City announced that the club has signed left back Donny Toia to a three-year contract extension, with options.
“Given he was in the last year of his contract, securing Donny to a new contract was an off-season priority for us,” Lions General Manager Niki Budalic said in a press release. “His experience, versatility and work ethic are important assets that will help solidify our back line. He’s come in and had an immediate impact and we look forward to his contributions over the long-term.”
Head Coach Jason Kreis revamped the Orlando City defense this off-season, and Toia was one of the first pieces to his puzzle. After losing Luke Boden and Mikey Ambrose in the off-season, Orlando City traded its first pick in the MLS Super Draft for Toia.
Although just two games into the 2017 season, Toia has been a crucial part of the Lions’ defense. Playing at left back, he has started and played the full 90 minutes in both games this season. After the Lions had the worst defense in MLS in 2016, Toia is helping Orlando City to new defensive identity, as the club has conceded just once in 180 minutes.
Primarily a left back, Toia’s versatility and history will Kreis were main reasons why he was signed, as he can play right back as well. At just 24 years old, Toia has racked up 81 MLS appearances (73 starts). Toia’s first club was Real Salt Lake, where he was the first Homegrown signing in club history. During his time with RSL, Toia was coached by Kreis but did not make an MLS appearance. Between his time in Salt Lake City and his arrival in Orlando, the Tucson, AZ, native appeared in 79 matches split between Chivas USA and the Montreal Impact. His only career goal came against Orlando City in 2015, when he beat Brek Shea to a corner kick and nodded home.
This signing comes just 10 days after Joe Bendik was given a contract extension. With Bendik, Toia, Jonathan Spector, and Jose Aja all contracted to the Lions for the foreseeable future, it seems that Orlando City’s defense is in safe hands.