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Orlando City Signs Defender Kyle Smith to New Deal

The versatile defender returns to Orlando, potentially keeping him with the club through 2024.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City announced today that defender Kyle Smith has signed a new contract with the club for the 2023 MLS season with a club option for 2024. Following the 2022 season, the club exercised its option on Smith, guaranteeing that he would return. This new deal keeps him as part of the team but potentially extends his stay for another year.

“We’re so happy to get Kyle signed to a new deal, which allows us to not only keep him as part of the 2023 roster, but now involves an additional option year in 2024,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Throughout his time in Orlando he’s answered every call and played every role that we’ve asked him to. His versatility and dependability are vital to our plans as we look to win more trophies in 2023.”

Former Orlando City coach James O’Connor brought Smith to the club on Dec. 19, 2018 after coaching him at Louisville City in the league now known as the USL Championship. In four years with the Lions, Smith has made 109 appearances in all competitions, with 68 starts, logging 6,240 minutes, scoring three goals, and recording three assists.

This is the second time Smith has signed a new contract with the club. He originally signed a two-year contract with a club option, but signed a new deal on Mar. 29, 2021. That deal was another two-year contract with an option for a third year, and the club is taking a similar route by extending his contract before his option year begins.

Smith made 35 appearances in all competitions in 2022, making 18 starts, and logging 1,719 minutes. The 30-year-old Cincinnati, OH native scored twice, both of which were second-half, stoppage-time, game-winning goals off the bench. The first was on May 14 in Toronto two minutes into added time, and the second was on Aug. 31 at home against the Seattle Sounders one minute into injury time.

The Mane Land staff gave Smith a grade of 5.5 out of 10 for his 2022 season.

Smith spent three seasons with Louisville City FC in the USL Championship prior to joining the Lions. He made 87 appearances with the club, making 85 starts, and played 7,617 minutes. He scored eight goals and recorded 13 assists in those games.

What It Means for Orlando City

Smith’s importance to the team comes from his versatility, team-first attitude, and willingness to do whatever he’s asked. He usually plays as a fullback but has also played in the middle on occasion. The club recently lost Joao Moutinho to Spezia of Italy’s Serie A, so Smith provides the team with much-needed depth. He was the first choice replacement at both fullback positions in 2022.

The veteran likely won’t start much unless the team suffers some key injuries to its back line. But he’s a serviceable replacement and provides depth that Orlando City has lacked in some positions. He’s struggled at times with fast midfielders and was inconsistent last season, but is a good option off the bench.

Smith was one of five players the club exercised options on. The others are Jack Lynn, Wilder Cartagena, Andres Perea, and Mikey Halliday. However, Smith is the only one that has signed a new deal so far. Additionally, the club has extended offers to Benji Michel and Pedro Gallese. Adam Griwnis and Mauricio Pereyra signed new deals earlier this off-season.