It's been a very tumultuous two months for Orlando City. Ever since the beginning of November, there have been changes aplenty throughout the organization, which all started on Nov. 3. Armando Carneiro, formerly of SL Benfica, was brought on as the Chief Soccer Officer for the Orlando City organization, overseeing all three Orlando teams and their operations.
Originally this was thought to be a big get for the organization, after Carneiro's prominent work with Benfica's academy. However, over the next 55 days, opinions began to change drastically. Here's a timeline of everything that happened within the Orlando City organization from when Carneiro took over until Monday, when the news came along that he had resigned from his position for personal reasons.
Nov. 3: Carniero hired as Chief Soccer Officer.
Nov. 9: Mason Stajduhar signs Homegrown deal with Orlando City SC.
Nov. 13: Thierry Graça, Benfica B goalkeeper, was brought on trial with Orlando to play in Brazil against Flamengo.
Nov. 25: Tally Hall and Lewis Neal were among those not retained by the organization, having their contract options declined.
Dec. 8: Brazil defender Mônica was brought in for Orlando Pride.
Dec. 9: Orlando City and General Manager Paul McDonough mutually agree to part ways.
Dec. 10: Australian Women's National Team defender Steph Catley was acquired by Orlando Pride from Portland Thorns via a trade for keeper Adrianna Franch and a third-round pick in the 2016 College Draft.
Dec. 16: Former MLS winger Khano Smith was hired as an Orlando Pride assistant coach.
Dec. 17: Midfielder Rebecca Edwards and defender Kristen Edmonds were traded from Western New York Flash to Orlando Pride for a 2016 second-round draft selection and a 2017 first-round draft selection. Also, defender Kevin Alston was selected in the second round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft for Orlando City and Lewis Neal joined Orlando City B in an extended role.
Dec. 18: Assistant Coach Ian Fuller's contract was not renewed.
Dec. 23: Longtime Orlando goalkeeper coach Marcos Machado moved to Orlando Pride while Stewart Kerr joined Orlando City in the same role, coming from Toronto FC.
Dec. 28: Carneiro steps down as Chief Soccer Officer, citing personal reasons for his departure.
Now, after less than two months with its CSO, as the team enters 2016 without a full-time GM at the helm.
During Carneiro's short-term stay with Orlando, it never seemed like it was destined to work out. From the first day he was brought in, there was an uneasy feeling. Sources with knowledge of the situation said that Carneiro made a poor first impression on some members of the staff and wasn't open to others' ideas. This direction led to some moves that were at times questionable and at other times hurtful to the supporters groups.
While some could see Carneiro leaving as a positive, since some of the moves he made were not viewed favorably, he has left the club in a very unwelcome situation. While longtime president Phil Rawlins will be the one to temporarily take over the Carneiro's duties, he is not a full-time general manager. While I don't doubt that Rawlins can do a good job in the interim, it hurts the club going into the MLS primary transfer window without an experienced GM at the helm. Whatever you may think of Carneiro, he at least he had some experience making roster moves and signing players, even if it wasn't in MLS.
On the other side of things, Carneiro leaving is indeed a positive in some respects. With Rawlins pulling the strings, he can work closely with his countrymen Adrian Heath, Tom Sermanni and Anthony Pulis to put together rosters that the coaches want to have, rather than players that may be forced upon them. Rawlins also has some contacts he has made over the years and has strings he can pull to entice certain players to come to Orlando. It will be more of a team effort to sign players for the time being, which I'm sure a lot of people don't mind seeing.
Regardless of how things are perceived after Carneiro's short stint in Orlando, the one thing that can be agreed upon is that the club will have a new beginning in 2016 and, for better or worse, it's up to the main faces of the franchise to get things back on track.