Our City is a weekly column focused on my perspective of Orlando City as a supporter. I would love to incorporate your ideas and stories, if you have something to add or a story idea please connect by commenting here or on Twitter: @kevinmercer225
Every day brings a new rumored move of a European superstar to Major League Soccer and often specifically to Orlando City. Many are huge names that make the supporters daydream about formations and tactics that could incorporate these players into our system. The names bouncing around the rumor mills are players we've all seen in World Cups and in the most elite clubs in Europe's top leagues. It's enough for us all to get a bit carried away with the possibilities.
Back down on earth -- that earth, of course, being the turf of the Citrus Bowl -- these big names bring large price tags and huge risks. Right now Orlando is in the most ultimate of team builds, with new pieces meeting old ones, young rising stars sharing the field with former MLS All-Stars, various national team veterans, and one former FIFA World Player of the Year. Let's be honest, while we've all been playing armchair analyst, Lions Head Coach Adrian Heath has had one of the most challenging jobs a coach could ever have, and he seems to be reveling it in.
Team chemistry is a delicate thing. Each player brings his own expectations for himself, his teammates, and his overall experience in the club. Each player brings strengths and weaknesses, both on the field and in the locker room.
While most clubs have a general understanding of how their team's chemistry is working, allowing them to make player adjustments, manage expectations for some, and provide opportunities for others, our club is still trying to figure out just what they've got.
Examples: Pedro Ribeiro and Cyle Larin have both had fantastic moments for the club. These are two players that weren't on the radars of most fans coming into the season. Are they great players on the rise or good players on a run of good form? We can't really answer that question yet.
Using Riberio and Larin again as an example, how do the continued rumors of a world-class striker undermine their development? Both seem to be consummate professionals, who look to produce when the opportunity provides itself, but what happens to these players when/if that world-class but aged striker comes into the team? Do we win now but hurt our chances to build a team that can dominate MLS for seasons to come?
Building a team requires patience and a steady hand. Making a big move on the transfer market requires insight and a firm understanding of how that player works into your club.
That is not to say lining up another superstar to partner with Kaká is a bad idea. It is just something you need to do with a head for caution. The wrong player, with the wrong mindset, could quickly destabilize the slow and steady progress of the club. Add a player, but make a smart move.
The opposite of this seems to be happening with our fellow expansion friends at New York City FC. Like their parent club, as results haven't gone their way, they are throwing gigantic oil drums full of cash at the problem. Once again, I'm happy to be on the purple side of this expansion rivalry, as it seems our club and its management understand the need to stay the course and make the wise moves. Go City!