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Orlando City centerback Chris Schuler ‘feeling good’ after making debut

Orlando City centerback Chris Schuler walks into a training session. (Jordan Culver-Orlando Sentinel)

Chris Schuler knew if he stayed ready, he’d get a shot to play for Orlando City.

The centerback just didn’t know that first opportunity could come against a club where he spent nearly a decade.

Schuler played his first 90 minutes in nearly a calendar year on Sunday against Real Salt Lake, stepping in for Amro Tarek, who suffered a lower body injury in training the previous day. Schuler spent eight seasons with Real Salt Lake before being signed as a free agent in the offseason by Orlando City. 

“I think any player that has been on multiple teams will tell you there’s always a little extra in a game against your previous club,” Schuler said. “For sure, it was a good experience.”

Schuler was in and out of practice throughout the early part of the season with knee and ankle injuries, and he didn’t even know he’d play on Sunday until close to the start of the match.

“I feel pretty good,” Schuler said after Tuesday’s training session. “First 90 in a while. It felt good to get the win. Feeling good … a little tired.”

Schuler had his positive moments – some clearances and two solid tackles around the penalty area – but also got beat on the counterattack by Corey Baird in the 34th minute of Sunday’s match, though Baird ended up dinging a shot off the post in that sequence.

Tarek is day-to-day with his injury, so Schuler could be called upon again in the coming matches. The Lions are set to face Atlanta United (23 goals scored), Toronto FC (9), the Chicago Fire (12) and NYCFC (19) over the next four weeks.

“We, as professionals, just try to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” he said. “I was thankfully in a position to help the team.

“There’s always opportunities on the field. I knew it was going to come at some point, didn’t know when, and it happened to be against my old team, which is super-positive. Feels good to get the win against them.”

Player updates

Tarek is day to day with a lower body injury. He was at training on Tuesday, but left — alongside several other players — before the portion of training available to members of the media. 

Centerback and captain Jonathan Spector (concussion) was not at the portion of training available to the media. 

Right back Scott Sutter (knee) was training off to the side. 

Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, who is out for the season following a cancer diagnosis, has been cleared for diving drills while in training. He worked one-on-one with starting goalkeeper Joe Bendik during Tuesday’s training session. 

Altidore out for Toronto FC

Toronto FC on Tuesday announced star forward Jozy Altidore will miss the next four to six weeks following surgery to remove bone fragments from his foot. 

Orlando City plays Toronto FC on May 18. Altidore has played in six regular season matches against Orlando City. In those matches, he has six goals and two assists.

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