Will he or won’t he? I don’t really know what Jason Kreis is planning to do with Orlando City’s lineup next season, but it’s starting to look like the Lions are adding the pieces to effectively play in a diamond formation next season with the club’s expected addition of Will Johnson from Toronto.
Johnson’s signing would be another positive move by Kreis and the club so far this off-season, and would come on the heels of the team trading for left back Donny Toia and reportedly coming to terms with French defender Grégory Sertic. The potential lineup is starting to come together.
Johnson is very familiar with Kreis, having played under the American coach for most of his MLS career at Real Salt Lake. In Utah, he played primarily a wide role in Kreis’ diamond formation, with Kyle Beckerman as the primary defensive midfielder. I see that as a strong possibility in Orlando too, where the Lions still have Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita, Tony Rocha, and Servando Carrasco, who reportedly just agreed to a new contract with the club, all as defensive midfielders on the current roster.
While I think that list will shrink before the season starts — possibly moving Higuita — it still seems more likely Johnson will be deployed as the left midfielder, with Nocerino and Carrasco as the two primary starting defensive midfielders throughout the season.
With Johnson on the left and Nocerino deep, Kevin Molino would be a natural fit on the right side with Matias Perez Garcia playing at the top of the diamond and working as the main distributor in the midfield. What that means for Kaká is we could see the Brazilian attacker moved up above the midfield and playing off of Cyle Larin as the second forward.
It works, it fits, and it’s coming together for Kreis as we sit roughly a month away from the start of preseason training.