As we count down to the new year of 2017 – which will be Orlando City SC's third in MLS and the Pride’s second in the NWSL – and say goodbye to 2016, it's time to look back at the club's 10 best moments of the year.
Heading into their second season of MLS, Orlando City wanted to make a splash with a solid signing from overseas. Along came a former teammate of Orlando’s captain, Kaká, in the form of Antonio Nocerino. The Italian midfielder’s transfer to Orlando was anything but smooth, however. Tampering charges were filed, then dropped after D.C. United was originally trying to sign him, having his discovery rights in its possession. Orlando eventually traded for the 30-year-old midfielder, sending both General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money to D.C. for Nocerino in mid-February.
The transition to MLS was a bit rocky for Nocerino. For about half the season, he was considered a liability in the defensive midfield, often looking somewhat lackadaisical and inconsistent in his passing. Around June or July, Noce started to find his comfort zone and when Jason Kreis came in, he became the veteran box-to-box midfielder that Orlando originally signed.
Orlando made another surprise addition during the first month of the season, signing veteran Brazilian forward Julio Baptista after he was training with the club in early March.
"Júlio is a strong, physical and tactical player who will provide us with more depth and options in the forward positions," said Head Coach Adrian Heath in the release. "We enjoyed having him train with us earlier this month, and are very pleased with the decision to bring him on board full time."
Originally, this move was criticized due to “The Beast’s” age, being over the hump at 36 years old, but Baptista proved to be a worthy signing and one that didn’t cost all that much. Through the 23 games played in the season for Orlando, Baptista finished in the top five on the team in goals with six and added three assists to his tally. He also provided occasional starts when Kaká was injured. Nonetheless, Baptista turned into a solid signing for Orlando.
Come back every day through New Year's Eve to count down the remainder of Orlando City's top 10 moments of 2016.
Check out the rest of our top 10 Orlando City moments of 2016: