Unless you’re a fan of one of the teams that made a deep postseason run, it’s been a long winter for the rest of folks around Major League Soccer, and it’s been no different here in Orlando, where the Lions spent their fourth straight MLS campaign backing their bags and holding exit meetings early after missing the playoffs in 2018, finishing last in the Eastern Conference.
Hoping to put all of the negatives behind them and finally turn the ship, Orlando City set out on what turned out to be a very busy offseason, with changes reaching all the way up to the front office, down to the bottom of the roster.
Here’s a recap of everything that happened this offseason, to catch you up as the Lions head into preseason training camp this week.
Nov. 26, 2018: Orlando City parts ways with General Manager Niki Budalic
Nov. 27, 2018: Orlando City announced end-of-season roster moves, declining contract options on Joe Bendik, Richie Laryea, Tony Rocha, Chris Schuler, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, Donny Toia and Jose Villarreal, and letting Earl Edwards Jr.’s contract expire.
Dec. 9, 2018: Orlando City acquires forward Tesho Akindele from FC Dallas in exchange for $100,000 of Targeted Allocation Money in 2019 and $50,000 of General Allocation Money in 2020.
Dec. 9, 2018: Orlando City trades defender Victor “PC” Giro to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for a third round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
Dec. 11, 2018: Orlando City acquires defender João Moutinho from Los Angeles FC in exchange for defender Mohamed El-Munir.
Dec. 11, 2018: Orlando City trades defender Amro Tarek to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
December 12, 2018: Orlando City trades the MLS rights of midfielder Tony Rocha to New York City FC in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
Dec. 18, 2018: Luiz Muzzi is officially named Orlando City’s new Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations.
Dec. 19, 2018: Orlando City announces the signings of two former Louisville City FC players, goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh and defender Kyle Smith.
Dec. 19, 2018: Orlando City sends the MLS rights of Earl Edwards Jr. to D.C. United in exchange for a second round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
December 27, 2018: Midfielder Yoshimar Yotún is sold to Cruz Azul, of Liga MX, for a reported transfer fee of $4 million heading back to Orlando City
Dec. 27, 2018: Orlando City sends Joe Bendik’s MLS rights to the Columbus Crew in exchange for $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money.
Dec. 28, 2018: Orlando City announces the signing of Ecuadorian midfielder Jhegson Sebastián Méndez via transfer from Independiente del Valle of Ecuador’s Serie A.
Dec. 28, 2018: Orlando City acquires defender Danilo Acosta on loan from Real Salt Lake with an option to buy at the end of the 2019 season and exchange for $75,000 of General Allocation Money.
Dec. 31, 2018: Orlando City signs University of Portland forward Benji Michel to the fifth Homegrown Player contract in club history.
Jan. 10, 2019: Orlando City announces the signing of American center back Alex De John.
Jan. 10, 2019: In exchange for the No. 1 waiver priority spot and two fourth round picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, Orlando City acquired the No. 4 waiver spot and a second round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft from Minnesota United.
Jan. 11, 2019: Orlando City selects Santiago Patiño with the third overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, Kamal Miller with the 27th overall pick, and Tommy Madden with the 39th overall pick.
Jan. 14, 2019: Orlando City selects Scott DeVoss with the 59th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
Jan. 16, 2019: Orlando City signs defender Ruan to a one-year contract.
Orlando City begins preseason camp Monday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. The Lions will spend the first 15 days in Bradenton before returning home to play a slew of preseason matches, including the Orlando City Invitational.
(Photo by Mike Watters / Orlando Soccer Journal)
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