After Wednesday's demolition at the hands of Toronto FC, and with the transfer window slamming shut behind us yesterday, Orlando City fans shouldn't really have to apologize for thinking they have gotten a little bit of a raw deal during this transfer window, and really, this past month overall.
We were promised at the start of this season that this team was going to ‘defy expectations' and subsequently we were teased with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez from Manchester United, Paulo Henrique Ganso from Sao Paulo, and out-of-contract Didier Drogba (who ultimately ended up with the Montreal Impact). Instead we got Adam Bedell, Servando Carrasco, Adrian Winter, Corey Ashe and David Mateos. These signings didn't exactly get the fans in a rabid frenzy and certainly looked small compared to the signings of Pirlo, Drogba and Co. who arrived in this transfer window.
Soccer is full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and right now Orlando City is just in a bit of a valley, however, all hope is not lost.
The recent acquisitions by the front office should be seen as encouraging, despite not being mind-blowing. We traded/released three players aged 30 or over, whilst bringing in fresh young talent that just weren't getting the playing time elsewhere, but don't have league and international experience. When you couple that with the return from injuries of several key players like Kaká (who was so obviously missing against Toronto), Rafael Ramos (who has a higher level of game experience than Tyler Turner), Carlos Rivas (whose speed is devastating) and Brek Shea, it promises immediate short-term improvements for a team that is starting to flounder, while also providing increased squad depth. That added squad depth also allows for the team to start planning for the off-season, regardless of the outcome of this season.
The other boon for the rest of this season is that this team is now free to concentrate on succeeding down the stretch. We have been knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup, and have survived the loss (and potential loss) of players due to the Gold Cup, Copa América, FIFA U-20 World Cup, MLS All-Star Game, and international friendlies. This reduction in travel and obligations means that we will be able to regroup and succeed for the future.
All of the moves made this window might not have been show-stoppers, but, upon reflection, they all make sense and really highlight how much this front office and this club in general truly understands the nature of the beautiful game and the need for success.