Orlando City selected Providence goalkeeper Austin Aviza with its third and final pick in the second round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. He was the 44th selection overall.
It was a long trip for Aviza to make his way to Rhode Island. The New England Revolution academy product first made his way to Syracuse University in upstate New York. The sudden departure of Alex Bono after his junior year and an injury to fellow freshman Hendrik Hilpert thrust Aviza into a starting role. He started nine games before heading to the bench. Aviza didn’t appear during his sophomore year, resulting in the need for a change.
Transferring to UConn before the 2017 season, he had to redshirt due to transfer rules. In 2018, Aviza started 14 games for the Huskies, posting a 9-3-2 record and a 1.03 goals-against average. However, injury caused another setback for the former U.S. youth international. The injury caused him to miss much of the second half of the season and postseason play.
After graduating from UConn, Aviza moved to Providence College as a graduate transfer. Eligible to play right away for the Friars, Aviza started all 23 games for Providence last season, including a trip to the NCAA tournament. His 16-7-0 record was backed by a 1.00 goals-against average. He made 56 saves during his redshirt senior season with a 0.709 save percentage. Nine of his 23 starts were clean sheets during his final collegiate season.
What it Means for Orlando City
Following the departure of Greg Ranjitsingh and Adam Grinwis, Aviza will compete for a roster spot as a backup to incumbent starter Brian Rowe. The only other goalkeeper on the current Orlando City roster is Homegrown Player Mason Stajduhar, who will likely be returning after playing the 2019 season on loan with the Tulsa Roughnecks of USL Championship. However, Orlando City has been heavily linked to Peruvian international goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, who would presumably move ahead of Rowe as the starter, leaving Stajduhar and Aviza to battle it out for the third goalkeeper spot, with the other likely being loaned out.
Here are some highlights of Aviza during his senior season at Providence College: