Orlando City SC preps for final year in USL Pro


Orlando City SC

Joseph Toby (left) and Austin da Luz will play for Orlando City during their final USL Pro season.

The team-building process continues for Orlando City SC.

The Lions announced on Monday the acquisition of former DC United and Carolina RailHawks midfielder Austin da Luz to a one-year contract, while also signing former Orlando City U23s midfielder Joseph Toby.

“Austin just had a great season in Carolina and has spent time in the MLS,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said in a statement. “He’s certainly got the talent. As people have seen him in the MLS, he’s a very talented footballer.”

After a stunning performance with the RailHawks, which saw Da Luz score four goals and notch four assists in 2013. His relationship with Heath is also an indicator on why he signed for the Lions, appearing for the Austin Aztex in 2008 before the franchise moved two years later to Orlando.

With the signing, the Lions are adding more depth to their midfield, after already signing midfielders Kevin Molino and Yordany Alvarez to multi-year contracts, which includes a spot to Orlando 2015 MLS roster.

After promoting former players such as Jonathan Mendoza and Adama Mbengue, Joseph Toby joins the Lions after playing for its U23s squad in 2012 and playing for the IMG Academy Bradenton in 2013. Although Orlando already has a solid back line, Toby’s arrival adds depth to Heath’s defense, which will likely see the former Flagler College defender play as a substitute to veteran defender Luke Boden.

“He’s has a lot of physical tools, as we’ve seen through our U23 team,” said Heath. “Our U23 team gives us a chance to watch and evaluate the players, which is of benefit to them as they may get a shot at the pro team.”

Orlando City will kickoff their preseason on Feb. 11, when they take on the Chicago Fire at the IMG Academy in Bradenton before facing off against a plethora of MLS squads in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.

(Taken from Jan. 22 issue)