Kevin Molino and Brek Shea swapped sides Sunday night with an electric result, but is the move permanent? What do we make of the Darwin Ceren trade? Hadji Barry's speed is a problem for defenses, but is he ready to be a starter?
The Pride fell to the cellar dwellers of the NWSL in the Boston Breakers, as many of their stars are in Rio for the Olympics. What's the outlook for both league and international play? Sean Rollins, Jeremy Croston and yours truly discuss all this and more in this week's edition of The Mane Land Roundtable.
In the second half of Orlando City's 3-1 win, we saw Kevin Molino on the left and Brek Shea on the right, inverting their usual positions. The results were encouraging -- do you expect to see more of this look?
Sean: Following the game, Jason Kreis said that the reason for the switch was that Kevin Molino has played very well on the left recently. Obviously nothing about Sunday night changed that. Additionally, he said that he likes to have his wingers come inside and having their inside foot as their dominant foot might help. If Kreis continues this way of thinking, I don't see him changing this.
Jeremy: Heck yeah! As Lewis Neal said, it is actually easier to be a lefty on the right side and vice versa. Plus, there was a spark we haven't seen all season. Maybe head coach Jason Kreis found the secret formula.
Wade: Definitely. Brek's days as a defender are over, and, did you see that right-footed cross? Remember who was on the end of it? Kevin friggin' Molino. These little tweaks are the reasons Jason Kreis is here.
Darwin Ceren has been traded to the San Jose Earthquakes. How will he be remembered as a Lion?
Jeremy: As a hard-working and well-liked defensive midfielder. I enjoyed watching Darwin play, and even though there were some "eh," moments, he played hard and did a lot of good for the franchise.
Wade: As part of one of the more physical, efficient defensive midfield pairings in Major League Soccer. He and Cristian Higuita were certainly more efficient last season, but that hasn't stopped Ceren from providing his usual gaudy tackling and pass percentage numbers. He will be missed.
Sean: Darwin Ceren was a great signing in 2014. While he was serviceable in the USL, he really broke out last season. It will be a while before we find out whether or not the Ceren move was a good one but I think he will be missed. And, especially since he came while the club was still in the USL, he'll be seen as one of those guys that was at the genesis of getting the club to where they are in the future.
Matias Perez Garcia comes in return for Darwin, as a high-level talent getting a touch long in the tooth. Is he the one to provide an immediate spark en route to the playoffs?
Wade: Whether or not he is the guy is up for debate, but his creativity certainly adds an interesting dimension to the club. Where he fits will determine his impact -- we're looking at finding time for Kaká, Molino, Shea, Higuita, Nocerino, Carrasco, Rocha and MPG, and that's assuming Barry doesn't have a future in the midfield and Baptista plays strictly up top.
One thing is for sure -- despite the departure of Adrian Winter, depth in the midfield is not a concern.
Sean: I don't think a spark was necessarily needed. This team is plenty capable of reaching the postseason with their roster prior to the trade. I think we're about to see a change in formation, probably to a 4-4-2, which is much more favored by Kreis. Given that San Jose appears to be picking up Garcia's contract, I think the club saw it as a win-win situation. If he works out, great. If not, you're not spending anything on him.
Jeremy: I don't know. He's played well in the past, but I wonder if San Jose had a feeling there wasn't much left and flipped him for a younger talent. Maybe playing with Kaká and friends will provide a boost for him, I'm just not sold yet.
Hadji Barry started on the right last week, using his speed to get in dangerous positions before subbing off at halftime. Will we see him start again?
Jeremy: I like the 1-2 punch Shea and Barry combined for. Getting Barry minutes is very important, and he's been doing work. Having Shea then come in the second half as the veteran presence might continue to make sense until Barry is ready for 90 minutes at the MLS level.
Wade: I don't expect it, and while Hadji was effective at times, I'm not sure the midfield is his best spot. Maybe he starts again, but not long term.
Sean: I don't think we'll see Barry start again this week. Kreis made his determination on his starting lineup based on some training and the friendly against Stoke City. Brek Shea didn't play very well in the friendly but was much better on Sunday night. I think we'll see Shea and Molino on the outside Sunday night against Seattle.
Who is your pick to win the men's Olympic tournament?
Sean: I think Brazil will take home the gold this year in the Olympic men's tournament. In London 2012, they finished second, losing to Mexico in the final. But I think their performance in the 2014 World Cup has given the federation added motivation. The team has Neymar, Marquinhos, Rafinha, and Gabriel which I think is plenty to win this tournament.
Jeremy: I'm going with the home team, Brazil. Maybe not the most out on a limb pick, but hey, I think they take this.
Wade: Brazil has brought their biggest guns to the Olympics in Rio, desperate to avoid the disaster that was the 2014 World Cup. The country is in turmoil, these Olympic games are causing insane domestic controversy -- I expect this team to rise above that, giving the people something to feel good about.
The Pride surrendered the Boston Breakers' second win of the year -- was this an embarrassing loss, or victim of Olympic circumstance?
Jeremy: Can it be both? Sure the team was down a few quality starters, but come on. The players out there were better than that performance. Not getting three points in that game is a disappointment.
Wade: Sure, you can point to the absences and say, "Well, tough loss. Sure can't wait till we get everyone back!" Or, you can wonder why the team isn't deep enough to beat what is truly a putrid Boston Breakers outfit.
If the playoffs are the goal, three points need to come against teams like this.
Sean: I think it's a bit of both. I think that the Pride are better than they are currently playing, even with the Olympic absences. I also think that those that have departed for the Olympics make enough of an impact that they would probably have won that game. However, you can't use the Olympics as an excuse or you can't expect to make the playoffs.
Who is your pick to win the women's Olympic tournament?
Sean: I think the United States will defend their 2012 gold medal in Rio. In recent years, the teams have shown an ability to rise to the occasion and win big tournaments.
Wade: Homer? Maybe. The USWNT is the premier team on Earth, and this tournament is simply another opportunity to showcase that.
Jeremy: The United States Women's National Team all the way! This team is stacked and is capable of not only winning, but dominating.
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And thus concludes your roundtable discussion for another week as Orlando City prepares for a date with the Seattle Sounders and the Pride takes a few weeks off for the Olympic break.
Feel free to add your answers to the questions above or explain why our staff is right/wrong in their predictions or analysis in the comments section below.