What Positions Are Still the Biggest Concerns for Orlando City?



With the first two rounds of the SuperDraft finished, Orlando City SC has inched ever closer to completing the 2015 roster.

However, with the team unlikely to find any MLS-ready players in the third and fourth rounds of the draft next week, there are still concerns and a glaring lack of depth at a few positions.

Orlando has filled all 11 international roster spots that the club accumulated, so odds are that any additional players would have to be domestic. They could theoretically trade for more international roster spots, but 11 is already more than almost any other team in the league.

So where are these weaknesses? Look no further than the back line.

Head Coach Adrian Heath and GM Paul McDonough have compiled a formidable group of young, talented attackers to surround Kaka. However, outside of Aurelien Collin, they have done very little to shore up the defense.

Collin should be a solid anchor at the CB spot, though you could argue he showed his age last year toward the end of the season. Next to him, however, there's still no clear answer. U.S. U-20 players Conor Donovan and Tommy Redding have great potential, but center back is very difficult to master at a young age. Journeyman Brazilian Gustavo was an odd addition, as it's hard to see where he showed enough quality in Brazil to have earned a starting role in MLS.

I can only assume that Orlando will look to add a veteran MLS center back in the coming weeks, which makes the release of Brad Rusin and Rob Valentino all the more perplexing in retrospect.

The situation does not get much better at fullback. Assuming Brek Shea starts on the left at some point, you get a player who hasn't played any significant minutes on defense in years and who's naturally inclined to attack. Luke Boden would be the backup. He was solid in USL Pro, but the pace of play is much faster in MLS.

On the right side, it's a toss-up between 18-year-old Tyler Turner and 20-year-old Rafael Ramos. Neither has ever played a competitive match in a first division in any country. *Gulp*

Finally, in the midfield, it still seems unclear who the Lions will pair next to Amobi Okugo. Darwin Ceren, a holdover from USL Pro, was the presumptive starter. However, Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel now predicts that Cristian Higuita will start. Higuita was acquired along with fellow Colombian Carlos Rivas, but was seen as the less exciting prospect of the two.

So, despite having something like 29 players on the roster at the moment, I still see some glaring needs at a few positions. These will most likely need to be filled by domestic players who won't require an international roster spot. On the bright side, the team saves money on Cyle Larin and Conor Donovan. Both are Generation Adidas players, so they don't count against the team's salary cap.

Which position do you think is our greatest need right now? Can youngsters Turner and Ramos handle themselves at right back? Let us know in the comments.


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