Report: Joe Bendik Heading to Orlando City

A report from the Orlando Sentinel has said that former Toronto FC goalie Joe Bendik could be close to joining Orlando City SC for the upcoming season.

Toronto FC decided to decline the options of both keepers Chris Konopka and Joe Bendik almost a month ago, and the Reds could be close to dealing away Bendik to Orlando.

According to the Sentinel’s Paul Tenorio, Orlando and TFC would have to agree to a trade, which is most likely going to happen since the recent spending spree of TFC this offseason, is cutting them close to the salary cap. TFC would most likely ask for money or even a draft pick for Bendik, who still can be a league starter. Allocation money would not be a bad pick up for Bendik.

Orlando declined the option of their starter Tally Hall as well since the veteran MLS goalie does have a history with injuries and tore his meniscus in the last game of the season. The only goalie on OCSC’s depth chart is 23 year-old Earl Edwards Jr, who was unable to make an appearance last season, but impressed his coaches during friendlies and US Open Cup games.

Bendik did struggle last season, mostly due to a foot injury that allowed him to start in only 13 matches. He boasted a not so flattering goals against average (GAA) of 2.08 per game, allowing 27 goals and had a 4-8-1 record. He really started to lose his form when the team went 2-4 in the first six games of the season, and would lose his starting job to Konopka after that.

Bendik has spent the majority of his career with TFC, joining the club in 2012 from the Portland Timbers. He appeared in 73 matches for the Reds over his three years here, and started to look like a real starter when he took control of the team after Julio Cesar’s loan was finished in the summer of 2014.

What Bendik can bring to Orlando is an experienced goalkeeper, who still has plenty of years left, and can teach the young Edwards Jr. He can also take the majority of games, if he can stay healthy. His ability to be vocal, make crucial saves and bail out a defensive error is very important to an Orlando team that almost made the playoffs in their first year in MLS.

It will be hard to see Bendik go, and especially to an Eastern Conference rival like Orlando, but rumours are swirling around that TFC could go the international route to sign a starting goalie. The team only has youngsters Quillan Roberts and Alex Bono in net so far, but both have had trials with European teams to allow them to further their development.