Video: Preview Of 2017 Orlando City Soccer Season, Notebook
By Allison Cary, Orlando City Soccer // March 4, 2017
Carlos Rivas Impressing; Team Mentality Shifts
ABOVE VIDEO: On this video for The MLS Show, Baz gives us his Orlando City Club Preview ahead of the 2017 Major League Soccer season which begins on March 5th 2017 for the Lions.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Orlando City will take to the pitch this Sunday at 5:00 to kickoff their third season in Major League Soccer. The Pride will face New York City in their beautiful new $155 million state of the art soccer only stadium.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Last season, Orlando City regressed.
The team finished with nine wins and 41 points compared to 12 wins and 44 points during their expansion season.
They began the season with four wins, eight draws and four losses and following 4-0 debacle against FC Dallas, even though it followed a five-game unbeaten streak, the teams first manager, Adrian Heath.
The team hired former Real Salt Lake and New York City manager, Jason Kreiss.
Kreiss led Real Salt Lake to their first ever MLS Cup Championship in 2009 but did not fare much better than Heath in Orlando City’s final 18 matches of the year.
Under Kreiss the team’s record was nearly identical at 5W-6D-7L.
Several changes have taken place for the 2017 squad.
Gone is Kevin Molino, who was one of Orlando City’s most important players in 2016, as he scored 11 goals and added eight assists.
Molino departed for Minnesota United, reuniting with Adrian Heath in a trade that netted Orlando City a mind numbing $650,000 in allocation money.
In an effort to bolster the defense and add more veteran leadership, OSC brought in former U.S. men’s national team member Jonathan Spector.
Spector joined the Pride from his English Championship club, Birmingham City.
Kreis will also be reunited with two of his old players from Real Salt Lake: Defender Donny Toia and midfielder Will Johnson.
NEWS & NOTES:
Coach Kreis Impressed With Carlos Rivas
“Carlos is somebody that I think has had a fantastic preseason and he’s primed to contribute in a major way for this club.”
That’s what Head Coach Jason Kreis said about Forward Carlos Rivas, a 22-year-old Designated Player who has been with Orlando City since 2015.
Rivas scored two goals and earned two assists in the 2017 preseason.
“This is a young player still, and we have the ability to sign young DPs for a reason; to grab these kids before they fully develop and to develop them ourselves into something that fits into our team,” Kreis said.
“So, I’m seeing that with Carlos; I’m seeing that it’s taken him a while to transition into the league and to living in a different country.”
“Now, we’re starting to see somebody who’s getting it, who’s understanding what it takes to be successful in this league. And when he gets that, when he wraps his mind around that, and when he’s fully fit and committed, the potential for a player like that is sky high. Absolutely sky high,” Kreis said.
“And when he’s at his best, he can be a tremendous handful to a lot of defenses in this league. And so we’re hopeful that he continues on that path. But he’s still not a finished product.”
“And I would say that is symbolic of everyone on this and the team as a whole. We’ve got a lot of potential.”
Offseason Brings Shift In Orlando City Team Mentality
Kaká emphasized that the mentality of the team needed to shift this year.
Playing in a new stadium, but as Kaká noted, that cannot and will not be the team’s lone motivation. They want to play and they want to win to prove that they can be one of the best team’s in MLS.
“I think players understand and I think players want to have this mentality. Winning games matters,” Kaká said.
“And every time we play, whether that’s here or at [Camping World Stadium], we have to win. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
That shift involves not just how the players approach winning and losing, but how they approach the offense and the defense.
“What we are trying to do– and coach tried to show us this preseason– is that we are not talking about four players to defend and four or six players to defend,” Kaká said.
“We’re talking about an offensive system and a defensive system. 11 players to defend and 11 players to attack.”
The most important way to emphasize that shift in the team’s mentality? Earn three points on Sunday.
Kaká Focused On Bringing Success To Orlando
When asked about his time in Orlando, Kaká said that he is not focused on next year or the year after that.
“I’m thinking about the game we have Sunday,” Kaká said. When asked about a potential shift in mentality, Kaká said this year he wants to focus on taking three points from every game.
“My goal this year is to win games,” Kaká said.
“This year I want to win the most games we can.” Kaká noted how close Orlando City was to the playoffs last year, and has said in the past that even a single win could make a huge difference.
“Now it’s time to win every game,” Kaká said. “We’re gonna start on Sunday.”
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