Sometimes, solutions can arise from the worst kinds of circumstances. After midfielder Kevin Molino went down last Saturday, Adrian Heath and Orlando City's coaching staff are now left searching for answers on how to replace their first MLS signing for the rest of the season. Obviously, there's no easy answer in this situation.
Contrary to what some people are saying online, Molino was an important cog in Orlando's attack. Although he hadn't broken out like many expected him to, he had shown flashes of brilliant play and it was bound to happen as the season progressed.
As far as who will replace Molino, that is still up in the air. Heath may change up the formation to a 4-3-2-1 and have a similar lineup to the game against the Portland Timbers a few weeks back. There's also the option of Eric Avila filling in on the right side, while the team continues to operate their same formation.
While either of these could be an option, the main issue facing the Lions is that Kaká is without his strike partner in the attacking midfield. There are some options on the table, but most would probably agree with one that we saw against Ponte Preta.
I, as well as many others around the Orlando City community, have been wanting veteran defender Luke Boden to see more field time since the beginning of the year. He was a stalwart in USL and Orlando's iron man, playing in almost every game for the last three years, and playing the full 90 minutes in those games. However, when Brek Shea was brought in, the likelihood of that happening became slim.
The experiment of Shea playing at left back that started with the U.S. Men's National Team was to continue with Orlando, and to Shea's credit, he did very well in his new role.
During Saturday's friendly against Ponte Preta, Boden was the starter at left back and played the full 90 minutes. In the 25th minute, Shea was brought on and played in his previous position in the attacking midfield. Over the next 65 minutes, we were privy to a great future combination between the two players. Shea looked more than comfortable playing in a more attacking role, and Boden allowed Shea more freedom to try and create goal-scoring opportunities.
After the game, Shea said, "I felt comfortable. I was excited to get forward. More excited to have that freedom to create things." He also said, "Boden did really well tonight. The gaffer saw that and has that option to play him there and move me forward."
This sounds like Shea wants to play more of an attacking role with the team and now, with the unfortunate injury situation that has transpired, it is a very good option.
Come Friday against the New England Revolution, we shall see if Shea and Boden will play together on the left.