Orlando City has already built what looks to be the core of a very competitive MLS team. There are sure to be a couple more big signings and transfers, but Orlando should have a playoff caliber roster immediately at the conclusion of Wednesday's expansion draft.
Based on conversations with coaches and players, along with my own observations, the following is my take on how players will currently fit into our game day roster.
Bench: Tommy Redding, Estrela, Rafael Ramos, Darwin Ceren
Louisville FC: Harrison Heath
- It's worth clarifying that neither Bryan Rochez or Carlos Rivas have been officially announced by the club yet. However, as we have reported (here and here), we expect these deals will be announced any day now.
- Rafael Ramos and Tyler Turner are likely fighting for the same position, but I do believe that one of them will win the starting RB job.
- Redding is a great prospect, but CB is an extremely technical position, and I don't believe he has the experience to start in MLS quite yet. He's also still undersized, though he has clearly added some muscle already this off season.
- There's a good chance Boden is not the opening day starter at left back. Although he's always been a favorite of Heath's, there are several more experienced left backs available today.
City's most pressing needs are clear: A box-to-box midfielder to pair next to Okugo, and a starting center back to round out the back line. Other than that, the words of the day for Wednesday will likely be "depth" and "trade value."
Unprotected Players I like:
- Michael Azira (Seattle) - High pass completion percentage and a great recovery rate. What's not to like? He's just entering his prime, and would be a perfect complement to Okugo's defensive grit.
- Corey Ashe (Houston) / Jorge Villafana (Portland) / Chris Korb (D.C.) - Do you like affordable starting-caliber left backs? If so, I've got a deal for you! Boden is a good player, but these are three veteran MLS starters with salaries under $90K.
- Gale Agbossoumonde (Colorado) - A talented, 23-year-old, USMNT-capped, MLS veteran center back. He's performed below lofty expectations so far in his career, but CBs are notoriously late bloomers. How can Orlando pass this up?
- Joe Willis (Houston) - Willis is a solid keeper with experience as an MLS starter who can be had for around $50K a season. Keep in mind, Tally Hall likely won't be back from ACL surgery until July.
- Eddie Johnson (D.C.) / Tim Cahill (NYRB) - Just kidding. I'm not going to touch this one.
What are your thoughts on Orlando's current roster heading into the expansion draft?
Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow! We'll be live-tweeting and blogging the Expansion Draft results starting at 2 p.m.