Just a few days after Orlando City announced its roster decisions in the wake of a poor (but improved) 2019 season, the Lions have re-signed midfielder Oriol ‘Uri’ Rosell to a two-year contract. Rosell was one of several midfielders either out of contract or who did not have their contract option years picked up but he’ll be back in purple for two more years barring a trade or some other wackiness.
“We are thrilled to have agreed to a new deal with Uri to bring him back to the Club for the coming seasons,” said Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. “Uri possesses great vision and his passing abilities add a great amount of control to our midfield. He’s a leader with the ‘locker room qualities’ we want for our Club, so we look forward to having his veteran presence back within our squad in 2020.”
Rosell, 27, made 20 appearances with the Lions in 2019 (16 starts), playing 1,465 minutes without scoring a goal but he did have one assist. He nearly had his first goal with Orlando this season but the play was whistled for a foul as the ball was being fired into the net. He took 15 shots with only two on target, passed at an 85.9% rate, and he averaged two tackles, 1.6 interceptions, and two clearances per match. He committed 24 fouls, drawing 12, and received six yellow cards. For the 2019 season, The Mane Land staff gave Rosell a composite rating of 6.
In two years as a Lion, Rosell is still looking for his first goal, but he has two assists, has passed and defended well, and was the team’s best player at switching the point of attack with a long pass outside of Yoshimar Yotún (before his departure to Cruz Azul) and perhaps Mauricio Pereyra.
Orlando City has a lot invested in Rosell. Along with his salary (more on that below), the club had to send $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to FC Dallas back in January of 2018 in order to get the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order so that the club could sign him. The club was sixth in the MLS Allocation Order but had to spend some Garberbucks to move up five spots to grab him.
What This Means for Orlando
The club declined Rosell’s contract option, so it’s likely that Luiz Muzzi was able to negotiate a more favorable deal for the club to keep Uri in Orlando. Rosell made $522.499.92 in guaranteed compensation in 2019, making him a pricey part of Orlando’s midfield. It’s also possible that the option year of his contract was back-loaded and a new deal was seen as necessary to keep him. Orlando also now gets an additional year of service added to Rosell’s contract.
The Lions were in need of defensive midfield help after either declining options for — or having contracts expire on — Rosell, Carlos Ascues, Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson, and Dillon Powers. Central midfield went from a position of strength and depth to a huge hole to fill instantly. With Rosell’s experience and quality back on the roster, Muzzi has begun to fill that hole.
Rosell and Sebas Mendez give Orlando two solid defensive midfielders. While Uri isn’t an offensive threat, he does help build the attack and link the back line to the attack. He’s accurate with a long ball and has good vision for switching play. At 27, he should still have plenty in the tank.
This should be seen as a good signing for Orlando, and we’ll find out in the summer how much it’ll cost the Lions in 2020 as opposed to this past year.