Orlando City is changing. With the firing of Adrian Heath, the club is moving in a new direction both on and off the field. Of course, with that new direction comes the scary, unknown aspect of change. Over the next three to four months, multiple aspects of Orlando City as a team and organization will be changing, that is inevitable. The only question that's currently up in the air is what will happen within that time period. Let's break down what will happen and why it's crucial for the club to get it right.
First off is, of course, finding a new coach. Heath was the only coach Orlando City ever knew and it's going to be a bit awkward for whoever replaces him. Not only that, there will be a lot of added pressure to the new coach. Not only will he have to win the fans over, but he'll have to try and justify the firing of the fan favorite Heath by winning games. That may prove difficult, since historically that doesn't happen very often with new coaches hired mid-season. There have been rumors going around about who may be the replacement, but nothing's confirmed yet. The Orlando Sentinel's Alicia DelGallo reported that there were three to four names on the team's list, with some of them being recognizable and none of them being from Brazil.
The next big step after finding said manager is to use the summer transfer window, which is currently open, to find an injection of talent and energy into the club. There are multiple positions where the team is lacking depth and the transfer window is the ideal time to not only find new talent, but possibly move some current players to other clubs --players who may not be living up to expectations (cough*Brek Shea*cough). Assistant GM Niki Budalic has been busy scouting players to bring to the club, so now it's just a matter of wait and see over the next two to three weeks.
Once the transfer window is all sorted, the next step is fairly simple: win games. As I previously mentioned, it has historically been a struggle for a team to have a winning season after firing their manager mid-season. Ironically, recently fired Orlando City assistant Mark Watson did pretty well in 2013 as an interim manager for the San Jose Earthquakes, going 11-5-3 after Frank Yallop was fired. Other than that and last year's Montreal Impact, the results aren't too promising. Orlando is still in the hunt for the playoffs though, which means even if the record of the team isn't spectacular at the end of the season, they could still sneak into the playoffs and make a run for the title.
Once the season is over, or preferably before it's over, the team will need to hire a full-time general manager. Current interim GM and full-time president Phil Rawlins has been pulling double duty since the Armando Carneiro fiasco before the season, so finding a full-time GM that can take the burden off Rawlins' plate should be very high on the to-do list. Having Rawlins back as the full-time president could help with the general operations of the club as well as giving fans some peace of mind. Which brings me to my final point.
The biggest thing the club needs to do in the next few months is to win back the fans' trust.
This year of 2016 has not been a productive one for Orlando City. Ticket prices are going up, personnel changes are constantly going on within the club and the performances on the field have left fans angry and frustrated. Winning back the trust of the entire fan base would give Orlando City a big push forward as it moves into the new stadium downtown next year. The excitement for the new stadium, mixed with the potential excitement for the team, would be a huge boost for the club. In order to do all of that, the club has a few fences to mend and a team to bring cohesion to, but the simplest thing they can do in order to get the entire process off to a good first step is win games.
It's simple enough, but a winning team usually helps people forget all the problems surrounding the organization. With the team losing (or, more often, drawing) games currently, it only magnifies the issues tenfold. Win games and a lot of the issues surrounding the club will begin to subside.
What do you think the club needs to do in the next few months? Let me know in the comments below.