Under new Goalkeeper Coach Stewart Kerr, goalkeeper training has been fast and furious. Kerr’s voice booms across the field as veteran MLS goalkeeper Joe Bendik and young upstart Earl Edwards seek to prove themselves and earn a starting spot in March.
Joe Bendik comes to Orlando City from Toronto FC, where he made 73 appearances over the course of three seasons. “He’s been terrific,” Coach Adrian Heath said. “They’ve got a great relationship, him and Earl.”
That relationship is something the the veteran Bendik clearly thinks is important. "You can't survive in this league with just one," said Bendik. "You need a full unit of goalkeepers and that is what we have here."
Earl Edwards was a 3rd round draft pick for Orlando City in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. In college, Edwards made 61 appearances for UCLA and finished with a total of 19 clean sheets. Heralded in his youth as the next Tim Howard, Adrian Heath believes he’ll soon be considered for a spot on the United States National Team. “I think he’s gonna be an outstanding keeper for the future,” Heath said.
Coach Heath doesn’t have a problem with some friendly competition between the keepers. “I’m really happy with the goalkeepers,” Heath said. “Obviously Joe’s got more experience at this level… But if Earl wins the preseason battle I don’t have any qualms whatsoever about putting Earl Edwards in goal.”
Both Edwards and Bendik played in the friendly against Eastern Florida on Sunday, with Bendik covering the goal in the first half and Edwards taking over for the second. Together, they kept a clean sheet in Orlando’s 4-0 win. While it is unclear which keeper will be the starter, both men will be ready to play come opening day.