On back-to-back days, Orlando City made their first moves of the 2023 offseason. After trading for young Canadian left-back Luca Petrasso, the club announced the termination of Junior Urso‘s contract on Thursday.
Petrasso joins the Lions from Toronto
Petrasso joins the Lions from Toronto FC for $300,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money with additional $50,000 in 2024 and 2025 if certain performance metrics are met. Orlando also receives the 22-year-old’s Homegrown rights, meaning he is not eligible to be selected in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft.
“Luca is a very technical player that can play anywhere on the left side of our formation, from left back to out on the wing,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in the club’s press release. “While just 22, he has solid experience at the senior level and he’ll provide immediate strength for us at the position, with a lot of potential for growth.”
A product of Toronto FC’s youth academy system, Petrasso signed for the first team from TFC II in January of 2022. He appeared in 92 matches across all competitions of Toronto’s system, scoring three goals and providing 11 assists. For the MLS side in 2022, Petrasso notched four assists in 22 games played. He has also appeared three times for the Canada Men’s U-17 National Team in the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship in Panama.
Urso parts ways due to personal reasons
A massive blow to the Lions’ leadership and goalscoring from the midfield, Junior Urso departs Orlando City after three seasons with the club. The press release noted that the club parted ways with the Brazilian native due to personal reasons that require him to return back to Brazil.
“Júnior has meant so much to the culture and direction of this club since joining us in 2020. He’s someone that we all love as both a player and a person, and we’re sad to see him leave,” Muzzi said in the press release. “While we saw him as an important piece for us moving forward, and we were excited to welcome him back in 2023, we recognize that some things are more important than soccer. Júnior will always have a home with us here in Orlando.”
Urso made his 100th appearance for the club across all competitions in the Lions’ final game of the season. He is one of eight players to cross the centennial milestone for Orlando.
“To my beloved Orlando City community, thank you very much for each and every minute you allowed me to represent you for the last three years,” Urso said in the release. “There were 100 games, goals, and the championship hardware we’ve always dreamed of. I did everything in my power to make you feel well-represented on the field, and hope I made you proud. It hurts to say goodbye. I didn’t want it to be this way, but it’s time to take care of my family. Know that I love you and am going to miss you. I will be rooting for you day in and day out. You will never hunt alone.”
After joining the club in January of 2020, Urso went on to play a critical role in the Lions’ midfield, scoring 14 goals and assisting on 11 across all competitions. He is 9th all-time in goals in Orlando City history and second highest in goals from midfielders, only behind Kaká.
Urso also helped lead the Lions to the team’s first-ever trophy in the club’s MLS era, something he promised to accomplish after joining the team. He was a key figure in that cup run, starting all six matches and adding a goal against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
With Urso’s departure, Orlando will need to find a player that can replace both Urso’s defensive and offensive contributions heading into the 2023 season.
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