Orlando City has added several MLS veterans in the past few weeks, addressing a serious issue ahead of the 2015 season. Through the MLS Expansion Draft and a few deals during the trade window, the Lions now have five players with over 100 appearances in the league. Much of Orlando's roster is made up of young prospects that will take time to develop, so it is likely that Adrian Heath will need to rely heavily on his newly acquired veterans.
Below is list of each player with 100+ appearances in Major League Soccer.
(Leave a comment if you can spot the trend)
Donovan Ricketts GK (167 apps.)
The 37-year-old is currently the most experienced MLS player on Orlando's roster, and has been a consistent standout for the majority of his MLS career. Ricketts will be the number one choice at the start of the season, but will have to compete with fellow goalkeeper Tally Hall for the job long term.
What he brings: At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Ricketts provides a commanding presence and stability in the box. The Jamaican will anchor the Lions' back line that has never played together and will give them the time required to build chemistry early in the season. With two MLS Goalkeeper of the Year awards and several club trophies to his name, Ricketts will be a leader for Heath's young side and help to establish a winning mentality.
Tally Hall GK (130 apps.)
Hall is currently out for the beginning of the 2015 season with an ACL injury he suffered last year while playing for the Houston Dynamo. Considered the long-term number one for Orlando City, Hall will have to compete with Ricketts if he wants to be a starter in year one.
What he brings: At 29 years old, the two-time MLS All-Star is beginning to enter his prime and will be spending his best years with Orlando City. Hall could potentially be the answer to the goalkeeper position for years, leaving City in good hands with long-term stability.
Heath Pearce D (129 apps.)
Picked up as Orlando's seventh pick in the MLS Expansion Draft last week, Adrian Heath has found an established defender and an expected day one starter in Pearce. The versatile defender will likely be one of the unsung heroes for the Lions next year.
What he brings: Having played in MLS, Denmark, and Germany, Pearce is full of experience at the club level and will provide a sense of composure when needed. However, his time with the USMNT will be equally important as he plays mentor to the young American defenders, Tyler Turner and Tommy Redding. As a National Team veteran, he will be able to help show the defensive duo what it takes to develop into an international quality player.
Amobi Okugo D/CDM (117 apps.)
The youngest player to reach the century mark on the list is 23-year-old Amobi Okugo. On a roster full of young prospects looking to prove themselves, Okugo stands out as an established professional who will make an immediate impact.
What he brings: Amobi fits like a glove into Heath's system. Likely to slide into one of the defensive midfield spots in Heath's favored 4-2-3-1 formation, Okugo is a versatile player and could also provide cover at the center back position. He has been a top quality defensive midfielder for the league in recent years, and is only going to get better.
Aurélien Collin D (107 apps.)
The French center back has been a key part of Sporting Kansas City's recent success and has helped lead them to the 2013 MLS Cup. Playing alongside Matt Besler, Collin has been one of the most consistent and positionally sound defenders in Major League Soccer.
What he brings: The two time MLS All-Star will be the general for the Lions' defense. As one of the smartest and positionally aware center backs MLS has to offer, he is the perfect role model for fellow center back Redding to learn under. Collin will be the main man in the defensive back line and much of Orlando's success will rest upon his experienced shoulders.