2018 is a Make or Break Season for Orlando City Defender José Aja



Having signed several players during the off-season, Orlando City SC seems to have most of its roster in place for the 2018 Major League Soccer season. The only exception is central defense, an area of the squad that still seems not entirely set with only three players under contract.

Head Coach Jason Kreis recently confirmed that one more defensive signing will be made, but even if a stating-caliber center back is announced in the next few days, odds are José Aja will be in Orlando’s lineup when the season kicks off on March 3.

Starting his third year with the Lions, Aja might have in the first weeks of the regular season his final opportunity to prove his value to the club. The front office has recently shown that it won’t spare resources to strengthen the weak spots of the roster and central defense changes could continue if he fails to perform.

“We really challenged him going into the off-season that he needed to do something different than last season,” Kreis told the club’s website. “He’s come in here extremely fit, he looks extremely sharp.”

Aja has also set high expectations for himself in 2018. After playing 25 matches for the team in the last two seasons, earning a little over 2,000 minutes on the field with decent yet unimpressive numbers, the 24-year-old Uruguayan wants to solidify his place in the starting lineup.

“Personally I think that I have to be great, really much better than last season”, he commented. “My goal is to be among the starters always and try to do my best for the team and help up to get to the playoffs.”

At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, Aja has all the physical tools to be the right partner for Jonathan Spector, as the 31-year-old veteran is better at positioning and reading the game. The duo has some chemistry from last season, but is yet to prove it can operate well inside the field.

“Our relationship is perfect,” Aja added. “We know each other from last year and we are trying to be better. I’ll keep working hard to be great this season.”

One factor outside the field, though, can put Aja in a better position in 2018. The defender got married in December and his wife will move to Orlando to live with him shortly after the start of the season.

“Last year when she couldn’t be with me it was a bit difficult living at such a distance,” he said. “The truth is, now I’m a lot more comfortable, a lot happier here. I’m enjoying playing and living with her, which is so important.”

With all the pieces in place, it’s time for Aja to show what he can do.


Exit mobile version