Orlando City has acquired Brandon Austin on loan from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The 22-year-old goalkeeper joins the Lions on a six-month loan with an option for an additional six months, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.
Austin was born in Hemel Hempstead, England, and holds dual citizenship from England and the United States. As such, he doesn’t take up an international spot. He made one appearance for the United States U-18 team in a friendly against Slovakia’s U-18s in 2017 and is currently a member of the England Youth National Team pool with call-ups for the England U-21 squad in October and November of 2019.
Austin is a product of the Tottenham Hotspur youth system and has made 78 appearances across all levels of the organization. Most recently, he was on loan with Danish side Viborg FF, where he had 14 appearances and earned one clean sheet over 1,260 minutes of play. Prior to that loan, he competed for the Tottenham Hotspur U-23 team in the Professional Development League.
“The addition of Brandon to our roster is an exciting step in solidifying our 2021 roster and we’re expecting that his background from Tottenham’s academy and youth system will not only add a different perspective, but also create further competition amongst our strong goalkeeping core,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Having shown himself to be a promising young goalkeeper and leader in England, we are excited to see how his development continues with us this season.”
What it means for Orlando City
With Pedro Gallese certain to see international duty this coming season, the Lions needed to either re-sign Brian Rowe or bring in another keeper. Last year’s primary backup, Rowe has yet to come to an agreement with Orlando City for the 2021 season, leaving a spot to be filled.
Orlando City did draft Andrew Pannenberg with the 49th pick in the MLS SuperDraft, however, Pannenberg is a long-term project if signed. Bringing Austin in on loan almost certainly means that Rowe will not be back this coming season. Austin will likely be battling with Orlando City Homegrown Player Mason Stajduhar for the backup position for the Lions.
At 6-foot-2, Austin matches Gallese in the height department, and having played abroad brings quite a bit of experience despite his age. This is the type of acquisition we’ve seen from Luiz Muzzi and company time and again. The front office has a good track record when doing so, and Austin should be a good fit for Orlando City’s needs in between the sticks.
Since this is a short-term loan, there is very little risk for the Lions bringing in a young player to add depth to Orlando City’s goalkeeping corps. The fact that he’s a domestic addition also decreases the risk as the club won’t need to add an international slot. The Lions are currently using all nine international slots in their possession.