Orlando City acquired touted young midfielder Cam Lindley from the Chicago Fire in exchange for Rafael Ramos, a veteran Lion who showed potential to be an elite defender but was hounded by hamstring injuries.
The Lions also sent the Fire $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, parting with $50,000 in 2018 and $50,000 in 2019.
Orlando City signed Lindley, a University of North Carolina standout, to a four-year contract with club options.
“We are excited to add Cam to our squad,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement released by the club. “He is a technical midfielder that has stood out in his two seasons at UNC. His passion, ability and tactical awareness will allow him to fit in very well in our squad.”
Lindley, 20, scored seven goals and added 13 assists during 22 starts during the 2017 season. He earned ACC Midfielder of the Year and first team All-ACC honors. He also started all 21 games and recorded seven assists during his freshman year, earning ACC and TopDrawerSoccer freshman of the year honors.
Before joining the Tar Heels, Lindley won a national championship with the Chicago Fire U-18 Academy team. Lindley also played for Chicago FC United and the Wilmington Hammerheads in the Professional Development League in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The Carmel, Ind., native participated in the U-20 national team training camp in July 2016.
The Lions, meanwhile, will be parting with a veteran player in Ramos.
The 23-year-old was the last of eight players on the roster who moved with the Lions from the USL to MLS level in 2015. The Seia, Portugal, native starting 24 of his 25 appearances during Orlando City’s 2015 season, recording two assists.
However, repetitive hamstring injuries limited his ability to get back in the lineup consistently in 2016 and 2017. Ramos finishes his tenure with the Lions with 39 MLS appearances and five assists.
“I want to thank Rafa for all he’s done for our Club,” Budalic said.
“He’s been an integral piece since the very beginning and was always a top-class professional and teammate. We wish him every success in the future.”
Orlando City has worked to revamp its roster this offseason and will get another chance to add talent during the Major League Superdraft being held today in Philadelphia.
MLS hopefuls just concluded a week of competition and interviews with coaches from every team in the league at the player combine in Orlando. Now they await their professional soccer fates.
The first two rounds of the draft will take place beginning at 11 a.m. today. The final two rounds will be held via conference call on Jan. 21.
Expansion side Los Angeles FC has the top overall pick, followed by teams that did not qualify for the 2017 playoffs. Orlando City has the sixth overall pick behind No. 2 L.A. Galaxy, No. 3 D.C. United, No. 4 Montreal Impact and No. 5 Minnesota United.
Iliana Limon Romero
and Alicia DelGallo