The MLS Cup champion was only decided two days ago, and everyone's already in full off-season mode. All 20 teams around MLS have released multiple players who are either eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft or the "newly conceived" concept of free agency. Over 60 players will be available to be selected in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, which will commence Friday at 3 p.m. (Orlando picks seventh in the draft). Meanwhile, 26 players will be eligible for free agency, which will begin on Thursday at 1 p.m.
This means almost 90 players will be out there for Orlando City to pick from to help build a better team for the 2016 season. Since the list of players is quite vast, I picked five names that Orlando may think about going after.
1. Justin Mapp - Midfielder (Free Agent)
Mapp is the epitome of an MLS veteran. He's been in the league since 2002 and has played over 300 games for four different teams. At only 31 years old, the left wing could be a valuable asset for Orlando, who just got rid of veteran Lewis Neal a week ago. Mapp is known for his creativity on the wings and can play in the central attacking midfield if needed. Having a versatile MLS veteran who still has some speed and creativity in the midfield would be just the thing Orlando City needs for this year.
2. Jeff Larentowicz - Defender (Free Agent)
Larentowicz , aka the Ginger Ninja, is another long serving MLS veteran who has spent time in the defensive midfield and as a center back. With just over 300 games under his belt since 2005, Larentowicz is also an MLS Cup winner, taking home the trophy with the Colorado Rapids in 2010. Standing at 6-foot-1, the defender could be a great veteran presence in an Orlando City back line that gave up 56 goals last year. Not only that, but he could be a good mentor for the younger defenders, such as Tommy Redding and Conor Donovan, since he has also represented the United States in international competition.
3. Chad Barrett - Forward (Free Agent)
A lot of talk about Orlando's off-season moves have been focused on bringing a solid veteran backup striker into the mix, and who better for that job than journeyman Chad Barrett. Barrett has played for five different teams since 2005, including the Galaxy, Seattle, Toronto, Chicago and New England. He won the U.S. Open cup with Chicago in 2006, played and scored in the CONCACAF Champions League with Toronto in 2010, and has represented the U.S. in the U-18s, U-20s, U-23s, and the senior team. While he may not be the fastest player on the field, he makes up for it with his awareness and his knack for being a "goal poacher." Barrett would be a great player to have come off the bench, or even occasionally start, if Cyle Larin and Bryan Rochez are away on international duty. He fills his role and doesn't try to do too much, and having a stable striker that can put away easy chances is all you can ask for in a veteran.
4. Boniek Garcia - Midfielder (Re-Entry)
Now here's an intriguing name in the Re-Entry Draft. The veteran Honduran international has only been in MLS since 2012, but has played a vital role in the Houston Dynamo's attack. At only 5-foot-8, the right midfielder has a quick first dribble and a knack for finding space in the attacking third, something which Orlando could really use next year. If the price is cheap enough, Garcia would be an ideal backup/occasional starter for winger Kevin Molino, who may not be 100 percent after tearing his ACL last year. His versatility and technical ability would be a huge plus for the team, as well.
5. Jack McInerney - Forward (Out of Contract)
It's almost weird to call a 23-year-old an MLS veteran, but Jack Mac has been in the league for five years now and has played with four different teams. The Florida native has over 150 games logged in MLS and has scored 38 times--good enough to rank second in MLS scoring history by that age. His timing with attacks and his knack for scoring would be great for Adrian Heath to bring off the bench, and since he's so young, he has a lot of potential that has yet to be fully realized. Plus, he would be one of the only local players on Orlando's roster if he were picked up by the Lions, so that would be cool, too. McInerney may come at too high of an asking price, though. The only other issue with him, is that McInerney is not considered a "free agent" by MLS rules and is not a part of the Re-Entry Draft, since he was not released by the team, it was only his contract that ran out. So Columbus, his most recent team, may try and re-sign him over the next few weeks. Still, Orlando may try to swoop in and pick him up before that happens.
As a reminder, this is all just my opinion and there are still 85 other players to choose from. Let me know in the comments if there are any other players I missed that you would like to see in Orlando next year.