Bendik had been Orlando City’s number one since 2016, but his performance fell off during the 2018 MLS season. The club decided not to exercise his option at the end of the season but retained his rights until the end of the calendar year. By acquiring his rights now, the Crew have a few days to come to terms with him before his deal officially expires.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper had been a mainstay in the starting lineup since joining the club on Dec. 21, 2015 before being replaced by Earl Edwards, Jr. and, eventually, Adam Grinwis. Over the next three seasons in Orlando, he appeared in 92 games with 91 starts, making 316 saves and notching 13 shutouts. His 92 games played place him sixth in club history, second during the MLS era, and his 8,248 minutes place him fourth in club history, first during the MLS era.
What it Means for Orlando City
The finalizing of the move means that, with both Bendik and Edwards gone, the club’s current goalkeeping stable includes Grinwis, Mason Stajduhar, and the recently signed Greg Ranjitsingh, who played for James O’Connor at Louisville City FC. Unless the Lions are planning on going young and cheap in net, another goalkeeper will have to be brought in.
The bigger benefit of this move for Orlando City is that the club acquires some TAM for a player that wasn’t coming back anyway. He would have been free and clear on Jan. 1, but this allows the Crew to bargain with him without interference from other clubs while the Lions pocket some cash that can be used elsewhere. The club has made several underrated moves this off-season in acquiring something for players that weren’t coming back anyway, and this may be the best of those acquisitions.