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Silvester van der Water Transfers to SC Cambuur

The former Dutch Lion is going home to the Netherlands.

MLS: CF Montreal at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City’s wing depth took a hit with the departure of Silvester van der Water back to the Netherlands. Van der Water, whose career in Orlando was marred with injuries, never quite got going and who only showed signs of his potential as an MLS player, signed a three-year deal with an option year with SC Cambuur in the Eredivisie, the Dutch top flight. SC Cambuur announced the signing today but did not disclose any information about the transfer fee.

While Orlando City has not officially announced the deal, the announcement by SC Cambuur with photos of van der Water in their kit seems pretty official.

The Lions signed the 25-year-old from Heracles Almelo using Targeted Allocation Money on Feb. 23, 2021 to a three-year deal with a club option. The native of Blaricum, Netherlands was originally linked with Orlando City in September of 2020, but a deal never materialized.

The lanky winger appeared in 31 games during his two seasons in MLS, starting only 12 times for a total of 1,011 minutes. He scored three goals and added three assists, showing a marvelous left foot but turned out to be a player so one-footed that he became a liability at times once the opposition knew he would never play the ball into the area with his right — or even typically make any kind of pass with his weaker foot. As a result, his passing rate in MLS was just 75%. He also made a token one-minute appearance in Orlando’s 2021 playoff loss to Nashville.

The Mane Land gave van der Water a rating of 6 out of 10 in the 2021 season-in-review player grades. He’ll always be remembered for turning around a 2-1 deficit against Atlanta United with the tying goal and winning assist on July 30, 2021 against Atlanta United.

His 2022 campaign never got going. He played 14 minutes in the opener against Montreal and then missed the next four games before appearing in the home loss to LAFC on April 2. That kicked off a series of three substitute appearances in five matches, but for only 24 total minutes, in which van der Water did not score or assist on a goal and attempted only one shot. He was injured late in the win over Charlotte FC on April 30 and has not been back in the lineup since, being listed as out on the availability report ever since.

What It Means for Orlando City

It’s difficult to know how the Lions did with this move without knowing the transfer fee — something that could come out later, when Orlando City makes an official statement about it. Meanwhile, the Lions are down a winger, which is an area that already lacks the production Orlando City needs and the team got no help when MLS U22 Initiative signing Gaston Gonzalez injured his knee in his final match with his old club. This move frees up a roster spot and an international slot that were being held by a player who wasn’t physically able to contribute much of the time he was here and who seemed reluctant to play with both feet when he did get into games.

Van der Water’s guaranteed salary of $349,750 is off the books, and considering his production for that much expense, moving him was a wise move. The Dutchman’s time in Orlando will not leave much of a mark in the club’s history. Signing van der Water was a move with the potential to be a good one but ultimately it didn’t work out, which sometimes happens. The Luiz Muzzi-Ricardo Moreira partnership in the front office hasn’t made too many missteps but this one will go down as a bust, although injury luck may have had just as much to do with that as any other factor.

How the Lions use that international slot and the money saved on van der Water’s salary remains to be seen. The club could use some reinforcements in this transfer window and this helps pave the way for that to happen.