Orlando City

With Pedro Gallese away on international duty, Mason Stajduhar eager to step up for Orlando City


KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Always stay ready.

That’s the motto that Lions goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar lives by as he prepares to suit up as the starter in goal for Saturday’s match against the Philadelphia Union at 7:30 p.m. (MLS Season Pass on Apple TV; Real Radio 104.1 FM; Acción 97.9). He replaces the usual netminder, Pedro Gallese, who is away on international duty with Peru.

The longest-tenured player for Orlando City has spent the past eight years with the club after signing as a homegrown in late 2015, battling for playing opportunities with the rest of the goalkeeper corps. Since his first days as a 17-year-old Academy product back in 2016, Stajduhar has learned lessons from eight different goalkeepers that have come and gone from the club, veterans and rookies alike. Each one teaching Stajduhar their own unique lesson.

The biggest lessons learned from those experiences: Stay ready and be patient.

“You always have to be ready no matter what, whether you don't think you're gonna play, you think you’re gonna play, you always got to be ready, always being prepared and treating every game like you're going to be the one playing,” Stajduhar said. “I think it's also taught me patience. No situation is permanent and things can change like that. So, I’d say patience and preparedness for sure.”

Patience has been key for Mason, whose first appearance for the MLS club didn’t come until 2021, after a fight with Ewing’s sarcoma back in 2017.

With those experiences under his belt now, the homegrown goalkeeper hopes to use his playing opportunities to showcase to other young, up-and-coming players that they can have the same chances he has earned.

“I think if you don't see those guys starting like Mikey (Halliday) and myself this weekend and (others) in the past, then it's hard to visually see it for the younger guys," he said. "But when guys got playing that have been in the Academy and got through the steps with OCB and the first team, obviously it's very inspiring, I would imagine for the younger guys.”

Orlando City (1-1-2) at Philadelphia Union (2-2-0)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Subaru Park, Philadelphia

TV: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (free game of the week, no subscription required)

Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish)