Orlando City announced Nov. 10 that the club would be parting ways with Brazilian midfielder Junior Urso, who will be returning to his home country for personal reasons.
"Júnior has meant so much to the culture and direction of this Club since joining us in 2020," general manager Luiz Muzzi said in the club statement. "He’s someone that we all love as both a player and a person, and we’re sad to see him leave.”
The veteran midfielder expressed his gratitude for his time in purple.
"Thank you very much for each and every minute you allowed me to represent you for the last three years," Urso said in the club statement. "It hurts to say goodbye. I didn’t want it to be this way, but it’s time to take care of my family. Know that I love you and am going to miss you. I will be rooting for you day-in-and-day-out. You will never hunt alone.”
Urso played 100 games in all competition for Orlando City, scoring 14 goals and adding seven assists. The 33-year-old served as an assistant captain, and brought needed leadership and tenacity that helped relaunch Orlando City in the Oscar Pareja era.
It was an expected move for Orlando City moving forward, but does leave a hole in midfield for the Lions. Ideally, young Colombian-American midfielder Andres Perea will be able to step into that box-to-box role on a more consistent basis.
Finding a midfielder capable of recreating Urso's offensive thrust will be a big question for Muzzi and Pareja to answer in the offseason. While the Bear was never the most productive player in front of net, his direct style of play and ability to serve as a secondary goal scorer was a uniquely valuable asset for Orlando City.