Sean St Ledger will offer Orlando City vital experience if signed

By Keave Tollington – @KeaveT

Sean St Ledger has been targeting MLS as his next career move since he was released by Championship side Ipswich Town in December and he could prove to be a fine signing if Orlando City offer him a contract in the next few weeks.

St Ledger’s career in England had been dwindling even before Leicester City released him last summer, as he made only 2 appearances last season. He picked up various leg injuries whilst at City, forcing him out of the squad most weeks. His time at Ipswich was also short lived and he made no appearances for the club.

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Things aren’t all doom and gloom for St Ledger, who has spent much of the last month stateside trying to forge a path in MLS. He was unable to impress at his initial trial at DC United and is now looking to secure a spot on MLS Expansion Team Orlando City’s 2015 roster.

The defender is definitely ready for a change of scenery away from British football and is a bright prospect for Orlando City. Vice President of Soccer Operations at Orlando, Paul McDonough said the club were very keen to get St Ledger’s deal confirmed as quickly as possible.

“Sean is very much first choice at the moment,” he said. “He has the experience and the kind of ability we’re looking for in the middle of the back four.”

Orlando City’s current squad is mostly comprised of young players, who have less than half of the practical knowledge that St Ledger has acquired over the years, and signing him is expected to give Orlando’s backline the experience that it needs to be successful in the 2015 MLS season.

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St Ledger played the first 60 minutes of Orlando’s preseason friendly against Swedish side BK Häcken last week and is said to have impressed head coach Adrian Heath. The veteran defender also spent the first-half acting as an instructor for US-under 20 international player, Conor Donovan, helping him to correct mistakes and improve his play.

If things go to plan and St Ledger joins up with the club officially in the next few weeks, it is fair to say that he will provide invaluable experience to the younger members of the Lion’s roster. Aurelien Collin is expected to be the first-choice centre-back with Orlando this season but St Ledger would prove to be a more than capable partner in what could be a solid defence.

Last year might not have been St Ledger’s best, but could 2015 see him succeed in MLS with Orlando City?


Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines set to seal move to Orlando City

Orlando City are close to adding the final piece of their defensive jigsaw as the Lions are finalising a loan move for Middlesbrough centre-back Seb Hines, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Paul Tenorio.

Hines has been with Middlesbrough for the past nine years and has made 87 appearances in that time, scoring five times with four assists, but his contract with the current Championship leaders is set to expire at the end of the current season.

Orlando are prepared to take the 26-year-old Englishman on loan for six months, with the option to sign him for free when his contract with Middlesbrough expires at the end of June.

Hines spent time on loan with League One outfit Coventry City earlier in the current campaign and has only made three league appearances with Boro in 2014/15.

Orlando City’s general manager Paul McDonough revealed earlier this week that the Lions were set to add another defender, with Irishman Sean St Ledger currently on trial with the expansion franchise too.

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“We will be bringing over another English player from the Championship and giving him a full trial as well [as St Ledger]. He can play both at centre-back or on the right, so it’s perfectly possible we could sign both of them.”

The additions of St Ledger and Hines would give Orlando five recognised centre-backs for their debut campaign with Aurelien Collin, Tommy Redding and Conor Donovan already with the team.

Former MLS Cup MVP Collin is the first-choice at the back but St Ledger and Hines will be confident that they have what it takes to partner the experienced Frenchman.

Hines was born in England and has represented the national team at youth levels all the way up to the Under-19’s. Though he is also eligible to play for the US Men’s National Team as he father is an American citizen.

The deal for Hines has not been confirmed by Orlando City yet but an official announcement is expected to be made in the next 24 hours.

Will Seb Hines be a good signing for Orlando City?

Orlando City to bring in English and Irish defenders this week

Orlando City SC are looking set to bolster their backline with the addition of Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger and another unnamed defender from England.

The Lions are preparing for their debut campaign in Major League Soccer and have started their first ever MLS preseason in solid form, with two draws and a 4-0 win against FC Dallas so far.

Sean St Ledger played 45 minutes in a goalless draw with Toronto FC yesterday and the Irishman will be hoping to secure a contract with Orlando after failing to impress DC United enough during a short trial with the Eastern Conference champions.

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Orlando City general manager Paul McDonough revealed that St Ledger is likely to be signed in time for the start of the new season, which gets underway in less than a month, while another defender from England could also be brought in this week.

“Sean is very much first choice at the moment,” McDonough said. “He has the experience and the kind of ability we’re looking for in the middle of the back four.

“But we will also be bringing over another English player from the Championship on Monday or Tuesday and giving him a full trial as well. He can play both at centre-back or on the right, so it’s perfectly possible we could sign both of them.”

St Ledger has been without a club since being released by Ipswich Town at the end of December but he will be hoping to find himself playing regular first-team football again if he can earn a deal with Orlando.

The 30-year-old defender looks like he’s enjoying his trial with Orlando so far as he posted a picture on Twitter with Brazilian superstar Kaka on Sunday.

He could form a solid partnership with Aurelien Collin if signed, while it will be interesting to see who the other unnamed defender will be.

Orlando City already have four English-born players on their roster as English coach Adrian Heath is more than happy to bring players in from across the Atlantic.

How will Orlando City do in their first ever MLS season in 2014?