Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath capped a very busy day with a media conference call, as the club formally announced the acquisitions of goalkeeper Tally Hall, defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Amobi Okugo from the Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City and the Philadelphia Union, respectively.
"When we initially drew up a list of players we wanted, all three of these players were on that list," Heath said. "So it's been a great day for us. We're really pleased with the business we've done and we're excited for what today's going to do for us moving forward."
Hall's acquisition has been well known for quite some time, and was confirmed by Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins on social media. Hall was at the Lions' official MLS Cup watch party yesterday at the Harp and Celt downtown.
"Sitting here in the City office and seeing that they have some trophies already...that winning mentality doesn't go away with the jump to MLS," said Hall. "I'm looking at the roster as it's beginning to grow...these are exciting times."
We had been hearing rumors of something happening with Philadelphia for a couple of weeks, but reports of a deal for Okugo surfaced last night and those were confirmed today. He arrives in exchange for allocation money and a second-round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft.
"Orlando City already has a winning mentality," he said. "I'm happy to be a part of that and want to help however I can."
Perhaps the real surprise was the move for Collin, a three-time MLS All-Star and two-time member of the MLS Best XI. He was acquired for allocation money and future considerations-possibly an agreement that Orlando City not select anyone from SKC in Wednesday's Expansion Draft. Collin brings MLS Cup MVP experience to a group of defenders that is very young, so far.
"My best quality is my heart and my will to win. The best I can bring to the team is my will to win and to make sure everyone is on the same page," he said. "That's the experience I want to bring to the group."
The addition of these three players, combined with the Designated Player signing of Kaka over the summer provides the team with a very compelling spine down the middle of the field. A top flight goalkeeper, an All-Star defender, one of the better young defensive midfielders in the game and one of the world's most decorated stars at attacking midfield shows the rest of MLS club officials aren't just paying lip service when they speak about their desire to compete immediately in MLS.
"Everybody recognizes that the spine of the team is very important and you can build around it," said Heath. "We've got three great pieces here...not only good pieces and good players, but more importantly, we've got experience in this league.
"Aurelien has already said it. He's a winner and that mentality will be huge for our younger players as a group. That's what we aim to do, put experience around the good young talent we've got. With the guys we've signed today, that shows our intent. We have the intent to hit the ground running and make a go of it in our first year."
A final word on today from Collin: