Orlando City needed every bit of its goalkeeping depth this season and then some. It was an odd year that saw injuries and international duty keep starter Pedro Gallese out of the lineup at times. Backup Brandon Austin — on loan from Tottenham — filled in admirably before returning to England. Homegrown Mason Stajduhar played some games but sustained a knock, handing meaningful minutes to Grinwis, who was signed on July 31 when Austin’s loan ended. Even former Lion Greg Ranjitsingh dressed for some matches as the MLS pool goalkeeper.
So, did the Grinch return to steal Orlando hearts? Let’s take a look at his return to the Lions.
Grinwis appeared in two matches (both starts) during the 2021 season, logging 180 minutes. Those matches occurred back-to-back on Sept. 4 and 10. He made his first start of the season at home against the Columbus Crew and followed with a road start at Atlanta United. The Lions split those games, winning 3-2 and falling 3-0, leaving Grinwis with a 1-1-0 record as a starter in 2021. He allowed five goals across the two matches, mostly of the he-could-do-little-about-it variety, including a well-placed own goal by Antonio Carlos in the match against the Crew. Grinwis made four saves with a 44.4% save percentage and passed out of the back well (81.6%), connecting on 46.1% of his long balls. He added two clearances.
Given the two choices, Grinwis’ best game was the 3-2 home win over the Columbus Crew on Sept. 4. For starters, he got the win, and the Lions were cruising until the strange own goal from Carlos that Grinwis could do nothing about. Likewise, the second goal came down to a 1-v-1 in close with Miguel Berry getting in behind the defense, hanging Grinwis out to dry. Grinwis completed six of his 10 long ball attempts and passed at an 82.6% rate, recording both of his clearances on the season against the Crew.
2021 Final Grade
Because of his low total of minutes played, The Mane Land staff gives Grinwis an incomplete grade for 2021. He provided valuable minutes at a time when both Gallese and Stajduhar were unavailable and played fine (if unspectacular), despite not getting a lot of help at times from the team in front of him, particularly in the Atlanta game. Considering he was coming back from a lengthy knee injury rehab, it was just good to see him get back on the pitch again.
Orlando City holds an option for 2022 on Grinwis’ contract. If the option year is anything like his 2021 salary of $81,375, it would be club-friendly deal. However, whether Grinwis would be comfortable hanging around as the club’s third goalkeeper or if he’d want to try to find more playing time elsewhere. In general, we’ll find out soon about Orlando City’s goalkeeper position with contract decision deadlines looming. Grinwis is a serviceable MLS backup goalkeeper and a good team guy that won’t break the bank but it seems likely that his preferences will be taken into consideration when it comes to the decision on his option year.