It's no secret that Orlando City SC's defense has been a challenge for the team. After failing to come to terms with Heath Pearce and Paulo André, and having Gustavo not work out, the coaching staff has brought Seb Hines in from Middlesbrough on loan and Sean St. Ledger on trial. St. Ledger will most likely be signing in the next couple of days.
However, with so much uncertainty going on with the back line, Orlando has now brought in César Mena from Atlético Huila in Colombia's top division. Mena was the "mystery trialist" who played in Saturday night's match.
Mena, who played 65 minutes against the Houston Dynamo, has a career that has spanned all over South America. Since starting his career in 2007 with Atlético Bello in Colombia, he has played in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile, never spending more than one year with each team he played with.
Last year with Atlético Huila, Mena made 14 appearances for "Los Opitas" and logged just under 1,000 minutes in central defense. According to sources, he has never scored a professional goal in his seven-year career.
Having said that, this doesn't mean he's not a good player. In fact, he seems to be a very capable one. Nicknamed "la muralla" or "the wall," Mena stands at a very tall 6-foot-4 and weighs in at about 187 pounds. He described himself in an interview as "a technician with good feet, a fast and attentive player getting forward with a good passing game."
From what I have seen in some of his highlight tapes, he seems like a toned down, more athletic Gustavo, if that makes any sense. He's another enforcer kind of player, who's a big presence in the defense.
Check out his most recent highlight video, complete with music that sounds like it comes from a Super Nintendo.
It seems like Mena would be a welcome addition to the Lions back line that struggled a bit throughout preseason. Many questions arose after Orlando's 3-0 loss to the Dynamo and it seems like the coaching staff is trying to find the right pieces to the puzzle.
Hopefully Mena is someone who can put Adrian Heath's mind at ease a bit going into Sunday's home opener. Orlando's final roster was due to the league yesterday, so we should hear if Mena was signed in the next few days. If he doesn't end up signing, Orlando City will still have Collin, Hines, Donovan, Redding and possibly St. Ledger to fill the back line.
At this point, it's just wait and see.