Orlando City’s injury situation has basically sucked throughout the 2021 season. Oscar Pareja hasn’t had his first-choice lineup all available at any point this season and he’s also hardly had both of his Designated Players on the field at the same time.
The squad took another blow today with the announcement that Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar has been ruled out for Saturday night’s match against the Columbus Crew with an undisclosed injury. This comes with starter Pedro Gallese already away from the club on international duty. To fill his spot in the lineup, the Lions have added Greg Ranjitsingh — MLS pool goalkeeper and a former Orlando City player — ahead of tomorrow night’s match.
Stajduhar, 23, had emerged as a viable backup MLS goalkeeper this season while Gallese was out with an injury recently. The Homegrown Player had done a solid job in the net for Orlando in 2021 when called upon to fill in for Gallese. Playing in five straight league matches with the Lions, Stajduhar allowed five goals and kept one clean sheet, posting a record of 2-0-3 to start what has now grown to a six-match unbeaten streak for the club. Orlando drew Inter Miami 0-0 in Gallese’s return last weekend, but that was always going to be a short return with World Cup qualifiers now taking place.
Without Gallese or Stajduhar, Pareja likely turns to backup Adam Grinwis, who was signed July 31 when Brandon Austin’s loan ended and he returned to Tottenham Hotspur. Grinwis, 29, has not appeared in a match since rejoining Orlando City at the end of July. The Ada, MI native has made five career MLS appearances (all starts), with one clean sheet, a 70% save percentage and 14 saves. His MLS and Orlando City debut came Sept. 22, 2018 against the Houston Dynamo, when he was named Man of the Match after making three saves and keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw.
Orlando fans remember Grinwis’ heroics in the club’s 2019 U.S. Open Cup run, particularly in the July 10 penalty shootout victory over New York City FC, which will forever be known as the “Running of The Wall” game. Grinwis stopped Alex Ring and Maxime Chanot to lead Orlando to a 5-4 penalty shootout win and the Lions advanced to the competition’s semifinals for the first time in club history. He played in all four of the Lions’ U.S. Open Cup matches that season.
Ranjitsingh, 28, was with Orlando City during Grinwis’ first stint with the club in 2019. Following the 2019 season, Orlando City declined to pick up the options for both backup goalkeepers. Grinwis signed with the Sacramento Republic in the USL Championship prior to the 2020 MLS season, while Ranjitsingh joined Minnesota United. The Scarborough, Ontario, Canada native and Trinidad & Tobago international moved on from Minnesota to the Philadelphia Union in 2021. Ranjitsingh has made five total MLS appearances —two as a Lion.
He made his MLS debut on May 15, 2019 at Seattle, where the Lions lost, 2-1. Ranjitsingh also played with Orlando on July 18, 2019 in a 1-1 draw at Portland in which the Timbers out-shot the Lions 26-2. Portland got four of those 26 shots on target and Ranjitsingh saved three of them. His other three MLS appearances all came last season with Minnesota, when he went 0-0-3, making 15 saves in those matches from Aug. 21 to Sept. 2.
For now, it appears that Pareja’s goalkeeper options until Gallese and/or Stajduhar can return will be Grinwis and Ranjitsingh.