After trading away Patrick McLain on Thursday, Orlando City SC traded for another goalkeeper on Friday.
Josh Saunders joins Orlando from New York City FC, after serving as NYC's starting goalkeeper for their first two years in MLS. The move re-unites Saunders with head coach Jason Kreis, whom he played under at Real Salt Lake and NYCFC.
NYCFC receives Orlando’s natural fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
“Josh is a veteran MLS goalkeeper that will add championship experience, leadership and depth to our side with 125 appearances in 11 years in the league,” said Lions general manager Niki Budalic, in a release. “Jason Kreis is very familiar with Josh from his time in New York and Real Salt Lake and is looking forward to working with him again.”
Saunders made 66 starts for NYCFC, posting 12 clean sheets and 221 saves. During NYCFC’s 2015 expansion season, Saunders led the league in saves (123) while playing under Kreis. Saunders also played for Kreis at Real Salt Lake in 2013, where he made three starts.
Saunders was the primary goalkeeper for the LA Galaxy during their 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup runs. The California native made 18 starts for the Galaxy in their Supporters’ Shield-winning 2011 campaign and posted two clean sheets in four playoff games. He also started all six matches for LA in that season's run to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Saunders went on to start 27 games for LA in 2012 and played each of their playoff matches as they repeated as MLS Cup champions.
“As the starting goalkeeper in our first-ever game, his place in NYCFC history is assured and we’re grateful for his part in some of our most memorable moments since," said NYC sporting director Claudio Reyna, in a release. “We’re happy that we managed to find the right solution for him to play in 2017 and we know our fans will also want to wish Josh all of the best in his future endeavors.”