Another piece of the 2023 puzzle fell into place today with Orlando City announcing that the club has re-signed goalkeeper Adam Grinwis to a one-year deal that will keep him in the City Beautiful through the 2023 season. Grinwis was one of several players out of contract after the 2022 season who the club remained in discussions with to bring back for next year.
“We are very happy to have Adam continue as part of our project here in Orlando,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He is an important piece for us both on the field and in the locker room and we look forward to having him back in 2023.”
The 30-year-old native of Ada, MI, continues his second stint with the club. He was originally signed on Jan. 5, 2018 from Saint Louis FC to compete for a backup spot behind Joe Bendik. Grinwis made his MLS and Orlando City debut on Sept. 22, 2018 against the Houston Dynamo, when he was named Man of the Match after making three saves and keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. In his first stint with the Lions, Grinwis made five MLS appearances (all starts), playing 450 minutes with one clean sheet, a 70% save percentage and 14 saves. All of that came during the 2018 season and he earned a rating of 7 out of 10 from The Mane Land staff for his performance that year.
He is best remembered for his performances in the club’s 2019 U.S. Open Cup run, particularly in the July 10 penalty shootout victory over New York City FC, which will forever be known as the “Running of The Wall” game. Grinwis stopped Alex Ring and Maxime Chanot to lead Orlando to a 5-4 penalty shootout win and the Lions advanced to the competition’s semifinals for the first time in club history. He played in all four of the Lions’ U.S. Open Cup matches that season. Due to not meeting the minimum number of minutes played, he did not receive a grade from our staff for that season, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t perform well.
Following the 2019 season, Orlando City declined to pick up the options for backup goalkeepers Grinwis and Greg Ranjitsingh. Grinwis signed with the Sacramento Republic prior to the 2020 season and the Ada, MI native appeared in four matches, keeping one clean sheet and making four total saves before his season was derailed in July due to a serious knee injury. Rafael Diaz stepped into the starting spot left by Grinwis and did well, so the Republic parted ways with The Grinch after the 2020 season.
Grinwis returned to Orlando to train with OCSC following his knee injury and that paid off when he was re-signed on July 31, 2021 when backup Brandon Austin returned to Tottenham Hotspur in England after his six-month loan to the Lions. Grinny has served as the club’s third-string keeper behind Pedro Gallese and Mason Stajduhar since that time, but he was called into action in 2021, making two appearances (both starts) and playing 180 total minutes in back-to-back games on Sept. 4 and 10 against Columbus and Atlanta United. The Lions went 1-1-0 in those games, beating the Crew at home before losing at Atlanta. Grinwis gave up five goals in those two matches for a 2.50 goals-against average and making four saves while passing at an 81.6% rate. Again, he did not play enough minutes to receive a season-ending grade from the TML staff.
The Lions did not call on Grinwis to play for the senior team in 2022, so we did not break down his season in our Season in Review series this year. However, he did manage to get some minutes with Orlando City B in the club’s first season in MLS NEXT Pro. Grinny saw action in four OCB matches (all starts), playing 360 minutes. The Young Lions went 1-3 in those matches and Grinwis conceded 13 goals — though some he could do little about — for a goals-against average of 3.25. Grinwis was peppered with shots while with OCB, making 24 saves on the opposition’s 37 shots on target (not total shots, shots on target!) for a 64.9% save percentage. He passed at an 80.6% success rate with OCB in 2022.
What It Means for Orlando City
The Lions have kept a great locker room guy and a talented third option at the goalkeeper position, and concluded one of the pieces of business the club had on the to-do list for the off-season. Although this isn’t the kind of move that will raise eyebrows around the league, it was a necessary one for positional depth. Grinwis could have tried to go elsewhere for minutes in the USL Championship and in all likelihood will not see meaningful minutes unless injuries strike the position group in 2023, but it’s good to have a known quantity and quality in your break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option.
Grinwis earned $85,444 in 2022, according to the MLS Players Association, so he’s an affordable option as well, even though it is likely that he got a raise this off-season.
Orlando still has some important business to conclude with regard to other out-of-contract players who the club is in discussions to bring back — Gallese and Benji Michel, as Joao Moutinho is now apparently out as an option (look for more on that soon). Grinwis joins Mauricio Pereyra in re-signing and the Lions have made bona fide offers to Gallese and Michel.
Orlando City must either bring Gallese back or find a suitable replacement for the talented shot stopper. This is likely the club’s top priority at the moment, in addition to scouting/recruiting potential Designated Players for both the currently open slot (made available with Pereyra taking a Targeted Allocation Money deal) and another that could open if Facundo Torres is sold. Gallese or his replacement will be the presumed starter ahead of Mason Stajduhar, with Grinwis providing additional coverage.
Gallese’s return may come down to what other clubs are offering. Michel may have other options on the table as well, but he is from Orlando and the club would love to have the Homegrown stay on.