Completing a rumored deal reported by Orlando Sentinel writer Paul Tenorio last week, Orlando City has officially acquired goalkeeper Joe Bendik from Toronto FC in exchange for a conditional fourth round selection in the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Per club and league policy, additional terms were not disclosed.
Bendik provides an MLS experienced stopper to compete with 2015 SuperDraft pick Earl Edwards Jr., who the coaching staff believes is ready. Edwards appeared only in U.S. Open Cup and friendly competition a year ago, but acquitted himself well in the time he received. Bendik is a relatively inexpensive option who won’t expect the starting job to be simply handed over to him.
"Joe is a proven goalkeeper who has significant amount of experience within the league," said Head Coach Adrian Heath in a club press release. "We're looking forward to working with him as he's a strong competitor who comes highly recommended."
Bendik, 26, spent the past three seasons in goal for Toronto FC. The 6-foot-2 product of Clemson University has appeared in 73 MLS games since joining the league in 2012. The Huntington, NY, native finished among Clemson's career leaders in a number of statistical categories and earned 20 caps in the U.S. youth national system, with the U-17 and U-20 teams.
Bendik made his professional debut in 2011 with Norwegian club Sogndal, helping earn promotion to that nation’s top flight. Following a two-year stint in Norway, he signed with the Portland Timbers for one season in 2012, making five appearances.
He allowed 27 goals with 45 saves and posted a 2.08 goals against average in just 13 starts in 2015. Bendik's career goals-against average is 1.62.
Orlando City now has three keepers on the roster. Edwards and Bendik are joined by Homegrown signing Mason Stajduhar. Former Benfica B goalkeeper Thierry Graca is also rumored to be joining the Lions for the upcoming season. Stajduhar and Graca may be earmarked for Orlando City B in the USL.