We are still months away from MLS play, however that certainly is not keeping Orlando City quiet in the offseason. While much of the focus has been on the international break and the USMNT, the past week has seen an array of activity for the club and it’s players.
Kevin Molino Thrives with Soca Warriors
The Orlando star had an impressive week while on international duty with Trinidad & Tobago, who are in the midst of the Caribbean Cup. Hitting the back of the net three times in as many games, Molino has led his country to the cup final and a berth in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. A win in Tuesday’s final against host Jamaica will also clinch a spot in the 2016 Copa America.
Coming off an MVP season with Orlando City, Molino has continued that form with the Soca Warriors and is developing into an instrumental piece for the Caribbean side. The midfielder currently boasts seven goals and an assist in his last five international appearances, and will be in action again on Tuesday.
Young Lions Get Minutes
Tyler Turner and Tommy Redding both picked up a valuable 90 minutes with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in a 1-0 win against Ireland in the 2014 Marbella U-21 International National Teams Football Tournament. With the Olympics just around the corner, it is crucial for the Lions’ defensive duo to make the most of their youth international appearances. The U-20 MNT will wrap up the tournament against Canada on Tuesday and, if selected, Turner and Redding will look to build on their clean-sheet performance.
Lions Pick Seventh in Chivas USA Dispersal Draft
The selection order of the MLS Dispersal Draft was finally decided and the Lions have been assigned the seventh pick. This will be the first of three drafts in which Orlando will participate, and it provides a good opportunity for Adrian Heath to continue shaping his roster. The Dispersal Draft will be held this Wednesday. A breakdown of who Orlando City should attempt to target from the dissolved Chivas USA can be found here.
Orlando City Add to Coaching Staff
Former San Jose Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson was brought on as assistant coach for the Lions. Having both played and coached in MLS, Watson brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the league to the Orlando coaching staff. He will be a valuable asset in preparing the team on what to expect from MLS life. As many coaches have discovered, Major League Soccer is vastly different from other leagues around the world and having an understanding of its inner workings will be crucial for OCSC. In my opinion, Mark Watson is one of the most important acquisitions for the Lions so far.
The January transfer window is just around the corner, so naturally rumors begin to circulate and conclusions are being drawn. This past week, Orlando City has proven to be no exception of this trend.
English goalkeeper Jack Butland was linked with a loan move away from Stoke City as a possible interim replacement for injured Orlando number one Tally Hall. The 21-year-old starlet would be an ideal solution for the Lions while Hall recovers from ACL surgery, however Orlando City has denied any such deal is in the works.
Orlando City SC, along with several other MLS clubs, have announced a partnership with Heineken. The beer giants are active in the soccer world and have become particularly aggressive in American soccer. The Heineken brand is already firmly associated with the UEFA Champions League and look to establish the same level of recognition in MLS.
Great Clips have also joined Orlando City’s partnership family this week. Locals will have the opportunity to capitalize on a “Three Goals = Free Haircuts” promotion that will be implemented during Orlando’s inaugural season. Fans are encouraged to redeem their game-day tickets for a free haircut at a Great Clips salon within a week, whenever Orlando City scores three or more goals.
While we all look forward to Orlando kicking off its Major League Soccer life, it is important for the club to have more weeks like this if it wants to have a successful 2015 campaign.