Orlando City SC is primed to take the field at BBVA Compass Stadium against the Houston Dynamo Friday night. Aurelien Collin is out against the Dynamo because he plays hard, so at least one player is set to debut for OCSC. Who might make their MLS debut in purple this weekend?
Sean St. Ledger
Technically not a debut, since he did play a minute in Sunday's match against NYC, but the 30-year-old Irish international player is the most likely selection to take Collin's place and play a full 90 minutes after another rash tackle led to another red card. St. Ledger received plenty of looks in the preseason and brings English soccer experience to the table. With doubts about Collin rising on an almost weekly basis, this could be a chance for St. Ledger to crack the lineup as a starter and take one of the center back spots. It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. This is the best chance to see what a Hines-St. Ledger combo can do.
Ceren was a regular in the holding midfield during preseason and might get his first OCSC start as an MLS player after Higuita's foul-laden match. He's more experienced and might be less prone to making mistakes in front of the defense, which will be key without Collin in the back four. Ceren made multiple preseason starts but didn't look so good against the Dynamo in the Carolina Challenge Cup. Heath could give him a second chance. Amobi Okugo pretty much has his spot lock down, so Ceren will have to take Higuita's spot on the starting sheet.
The versatile midfielder on loan from Santos Laguna can play all over the midfield and even drop back as a fullback. That won't be where he would make his Orlando City debut because of the strong play of Rafael Ramos and Brek Shea at the outside back positions, so he would have to play somewhere in midfield. Like Ceren, he could factor in a rotation for that other defensive midfield spot and make his start there against Houston. Protecting the center backs from Houston's strikers will be key, so this could be his chance to shine.
Carlos Rivas couldn't stay onside and Bryan Rochez didn't do too much in his 10 minutes against New York, which leaves Friday night's game as a good chance for Larin to get his first MLS action. Rivas' speed was dangerous and had the other City's back line worried, but he didn't have the composure or awareness to keep onside and keep Orlando's attacks alive. Houston's center back duo is physical but Kei Kamara still had plenty of attempts on goal for Columbus against the Dynamo over the weekend. Larin might be raw, but Orlando City picked him first in the MLS SuperDraft for a reason, so the club should go ahead and break him in now.
Who else might get their first runout for the Lions in MLS play tomorrow? Let us know who you want to see in the comments section below.