As we continue to discuss Orlando City's new roster for the upcoming season, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about one of the more intriguing players, Rafael Ramos. This player came in, along with fellow countryman Estrela, toward the end of the 2014 USL Pro season, and was an instant contributor. Playing right back, Ramos only appeared in three games before being injured in an away match and was sidelined for the rest of the season.
In those three games, however, Ramos displayed quick feet and great technical ability with the ball. Within Adrian Heath's system, Ramos thrived. Every time he got the ball coming up on the wing, he would create something, whether it was for himself or his teammates. He was even able to find the back of the net in his first game with the Lions. Despite having such a small body of work with Orlando, Ramos was very impressive and has set himself up to possibly see minutes with the first team next year.
Along with Estrela, Ramos has gained experience playing with the Portuguese U-20 National Team. These experiences for someone as young as he is can be influential in player development. The more opportunities he gets to play with Portugal, the more of a chance he has of becoming a very good player for the Lions. His position with the Lions, however, may be a different story.
Although Ramos played last year as a defender, the Orlando City website now has him listed as a forward. While at first this kind of seems like a typo, it is quite possible that Ramos will be playing up front next year. As previously mentioned, Ramos has a lot of creativity and has the ability to blow by defenders, as he showed during his few games in a Lions uniform. He would definitely be a good wing player for Heath's system, but most likely not as a starter...yet.
As is the case with many of the young players for Orlando City, where Ramos ends up with the team is entirely up to who is brought in from the Expansion Draft and the SuperDraft over the coming months. If Heath's squad lacks depth, then Ramos has a possible chance of being a super sub for the team, much like the role of former Orlando City forward Dennis Chin. Wherever he may end up, at only 19 years of age, Rafael Ramos has plenty of room to grow with Orlando City.