NYCFC trades Josh Saunders to Orlando City SC


by Christian Araos

New York City FC announced Friday that it has found a ‘solution’ for goalkeeper Josh Saunders, trading him to Orlando City SC for a 4th round pick in the 2019 SuperDraft.

Saunders, 35, had been NYCFC’s starting goalkeeper for most of the team’s first two seasons but was left off of the team’s preseason roster after it acquired Sean Johnson in the offseason. Sporting director Claudio Reyna said the team were finding a solution for him that would afford him more playing time.

Saunders leaves City after starting 66 of the team’s 68 regular season games.

“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,” Reyna said. “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.”

Saunders struggled to keep his starting spot in New York City making mistakes playing from the back and was eventually surpassed by Eirik Johansen as last season ended. A successful preseason after re-uniting with Jason Kreis could have Saunders starting against NYCFC in Orlando’s first game in its new stadium.

City head coach Patrick Vieira said the team was happy to work with Saunders in finding a suitable club.

“In the end, we reached a conclusion that suited both parties as he’s going to Orlando which is a club he wanted to be at,” Vieira said. “Myself and all of the coaching staff would like to thank Josh for his great contribution to NYCFC and wish him luck for the year ahead.”