Orlando City announced today the status of its MLS contracts, with several veterans as well as some younger players now on the outside looking in. Orlando City currently has 15 players signed for 2020 and is working to make Ruan’s loan to the club permanent.
Per the club, the Lions have exercised options on defenders Kamal Miller and Kyle Smith along with forwards Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller, and Santiago Patiño.
In addition, the following players are still under contract for 2020: goalkeeper Brian Rowe; defenders Robin Jansson and João Moutinho; midfielders Sebas Méndez, Mauricio Pereyra and Robinho; and forwards Nani, Josué Colmán, Dom Dwyer, and Benji Michel.
The contract options for 10 players were not exercised, including Carlos Ascues, Alex De John, Adam Grinwis, Cam Lindley, Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers, Greg Ranjitsingh, Uri Rosell, Lamine Sané, and Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar. Defender Danilo Acosta’s loan has expired and his option was declined by Real Salt Lake as well.
Three Orlando City players are out of contract, including original Lion Cristian Higuita — the last remaining player from the club’s inaugural MLS side in 2015. Joining Higuita in out-of-contract status are midfielders Will Johnson and Sacha Kljestan.
One of the biggest surprises to me is the club exercising the option of Kyle Smith — a depth player brought in by James O’Connor. Although Smith was an adequate substitute in a variety of positions, he was master of none in his first MLS season. His cap hit is small and his versatility earned him another year in Orlando.
With Ranjitsingh and Grinwis both having their options declined, the Lions will be in the market for a goalkeeper — possibly a starter, with an eye on making Rowe the backup. Rowe was solid if unspectacular in 2019 and would be an excellent No. 2, but he can also remain the starter in a pinch.
The least surprising thing is the team jettisoning some huge salaries. Ascues, Higuita, Rosell, Johnson, Kljestan, and Sané all made $420,000 or more. Powers made $200,000. Orlando will be a very different team in 2020 but there is a lot of money available to bring in replacements. Luiz Muzzi will need to rebuild a midfield that sees only Mendez and Pereyra return, although Nani and Robinho can also play wide midfield positions.
Colmán remains on loan for now and could be recalled.
Post-2019 Orlando City Roster Status
(Current roster players in italics)
- Danilo Acosta - Loan Expired
- Tesho Akindele - Option Exercised
- Carlos Ascues - Option Declined
- Josué Colmán - Under Contract for 2020 (Currently on Loan)
- Alex De John - Option Declined
- Dom Dwyer - Under Contract for 2020
- Adam Grinwis - Option Declined
- Cristian Higuita - Out of Contract
- Robin Jansson - Under Contract for 2020
- Will Johnson - Out of Contract
- Sacha Kljestan - Out of Contract
- Cameron Lindley - Option Declined
- Sebas Méndez - Under Contract for 2020
- Benji Michel - Under Contract for 2020
- Kamal Miller - Option Exercised
- João Moutinho - Under Contract for 2020
- Chris Mueller - Option Exercised
- Nani - Under Contract for 2020
- Shane O’Neill - Option Declined
- Santiago Patiño - Option Exercised
- Mauricio Pereyra - Under Contract for 2020
- Dillon Powers - Option Declined
- Greg Ranjitsingh - Option Declined
- Robinho - Under Contract for 2020
- Uri Rosell - Option Declined
- Brian Rowe - Under Contract for 2020
- Ruan - In Negotiations for Permanent Transfer for 2020
- Lamine Sané - Option Declined
- Kyle Smith - Option Exercised
- Mason Stajduhar - Option Declined