Monday marked the start of a new season and, for Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis, the first preseason with his new club.
“It looked a lot like a first day of preseason training. Very rough around the edges,” Kreis said after training at Sylvan Lake Park. “I think it’s important that the group recognizes right away that we need to raise the level of intensity, the level of competitiveness and the level of our fitness. I think all three of those things will adjust in a very short time.”
During the off-season, Kreis worked up all the way until Monday, traveling around the country and scouting potential players to come to Orlando. He was asked if he also had any free time during the time away from the pitch.
“You said ‘free time.’ That was kind of funny,” Kreis joked. “It was extremely busy. I think one of the unfortunate things about being a coach and part of a technical staff that is addressing, making changes, and turning over a team a little bit, is often times you do 100 times the work for one [change] that you can show people. And I think that’s probably a fair description of our case this off-season. We’ve done a ton of work, even though it may not look like we’ve done a ton of work, we’ve done a ton of work.”
With all the work that Kreis, General Manager Niki Budalic, and the Orlando City coaching staff have put in, they have signed five players and drafted one as well. As Kreis said, this doesn’t mean the work hasn’t been put in to try and sign more players, it’s just that those six are the result of that hard work.
Kreis also touched on the fitness aspect of the team and his desire for his players to be 90-minutes fit for every game.
“First and foremost, I believe that we’re gonna be a fitter, stronger, and more tactically astute team,” Kreis said. “It’s establishing an identity of who Orlando City wants to be. And those are the sorts of things that you get when you ask your players to work extremely hard in an off-season, those are the things we’ll get when we all work together, collectively, extremely hard in the preseason.”
Although Kreis focused more on the players currently at the practice facility, the Orlando City boss did mention that finding a new center back was a main objective for the off-season, and that fans should be ready for some news.
“That was really our main objective going into the off-season was to try to strengthen our back line,” Kreis said. “We feel we’ve done it in the left back position, we’ve addressed that. We think we have some young, very, very exciting potential, strong defenders. We’ve decided that our right back situation we actually quite like. So we’re still missing one central defender, and everybody should probably stay tuned.”