Orlando City announced on Tuesday the arrival of Felipe Martins on a one-year contract, making the midfielder the first off-season free-agent signing for the Lions heading into the 2023 season.
Martins, 32, joins Orlando as a free agent after previously playing for Austin FC. The Brazilian midfielder also has a club option for 2024, and currently holds a green card, meaning he will not occupy an international slot.
“Felipe is a player that we have watched and respected for a while. As an 11-year veteran of our league, he will bring needed and valuable depth, as well as important experience from his time in both MLS and at international clubs,” Orlando City General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a statement. “Getting a player with Felipe’s skillset and leadership both on and off the pitch is an important step toward our 2023 goals and we’re excited to have him with us in Orlando this season.”
Felipe has an 11-year MLS career, starting at CF Montreal in 2012 before joining the New York Red Bulls in 2015, where he spent 4 seasons, including winning the Supporter’s Shield in his first year at Red Bull Arena.
What does this signing mean for Orlando?
Given Felipe’s experience in MLS, it gives Head Coach Oscar Pareja‘s team more options at midfield, someone who can accompany Cesar Araujo in the middle. This move comes after Junior Urso announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the team due to personal reasons.
The signing could also be the first of some free agency signings, Muzzi hinted last month, the team could make moves on this offseason.
“The free agency in MLS is growing bigger. There are more and more names, [so] it’s gonna be busy,” Muzzi told the OSJ in October. “Then the [college] Super Draft isn’t until the end of December, so we’re very active in everything. There’s never enough season.”
Here’s a look at the current Orlando City roster
Goalkeeper (1): Mason Stajduhar (HG).
Defenders (9): Kyle Smith, Ruan, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday (HG), Thomas Williams (HG), Alex Freeman (HG), Lucas Petrasso (HG).
Midfielders (7): Andrés Perea (U-22), César Araújo (U-22), Jake Mulraney, Iván Angulo, Wilder Cartagena, Wilfredo Rivera, Felipe Martins.
Forwards (4): Facundo Torres (DP), Ercan Kara (DP), Jack Lynn, Gastón González (U-22)
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