Orlando City had already decided to part ways with longtime backup goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. following the conclusion of the 2018 season, but that didn’t stop the Lions from leveraging the four-year pro into a 2019 second-round MLS SuperDraft pick from D.C. United on Wednesday. The Lions now have seven picks — Nos. 3, 27, 38, 59, 75, 94, and 96 — in the 2019 SuperDraft.
Although Orlando City was not going to bring Edwards Jr. back in 2019, the club still held his rights through the end of the calendar year. As The Washington Post first reported on Tuesday, D.C. United sensed interest in Edwards Jr. from other teams and decided to pounce to secure his rights from Orlando City.
Edwards to DCU is almost done. Several teams were interested so DC is sending a second-round draft pick to Orlando for his league rights.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 18, 2018
Edwards was selected by Orlando City in round three of the 2015 SuperDraft out of UCLA. He managed six MLS appearances in the four years since (all starts), five of which came in a five-game run this past season from mid-July to early August. Edwards’ only other league start came in a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Philadelphia in October of 2017.
Overall, the Lions went 1-4-1 in his six starts, with Edwards registering 16 saves and allowing 19 goals. His lone win between the posts in MLS play came in a 2-1 win over Toronto FC on July 14, 2017. Edwards found most of his success for Orlando City as the primary keeper for Orlando City B in 2017 and in U.S. Open Cup duty.
Following the club’s announcement on Tuesday, Edwards showed some love for OCSC and the City of Orlando.
Thank you to everyone in the @OrlandoCitySC organization. I’m very grateful to have gotten my career started in such a great (and underrated) city. These past 4 years have been amazing, but my time here has come to an end and I wish the club all the best in the future! #GoLions— Earl Edwards Jr (@earljrucla) December 19, 2018
Orlando City also parted ways with keeper Joe Bendik following the 2018 season, but made a move toward filling their empty spots on Wednesday with the addition of Louisville City FC keeper Greg Ranjitsingh. The Lions remain in the market for another goalkeeper as well.