Major League Soccer’s secondary transfer window is now open and fans from teams around the league hope they can strengthen their squads with marquee players. However, that is not what usually happens.
Orlando City SC, for example, was rumored to be pursuing Colombian midfielder Juan Quintero, who could be headed to the Chicago Fire instead. Quintero would definitely be a high-profile addition to the Lions, but he does not have the same profile of the players the club signed over the last two summers.
In 2015, Orlando City added four players to its roster during the summer: left back Corey Ashe, defender David Mateos and midfielders Servando Carrasco and Adrian Winter. After two years, Carrasco, who became a useful rotation player to the Lions, is the only one who remains in the club.
Winter turned into a fan favorite because of his work rate and dedication, but decided to return to his native Switzerland in July 2016 because of family reasons, leaving fans with the hope that he could return in the future.
Mateos, developed in the youth system of Spanish giants Real Madrid, had 26 starts for Orlando in 18 months. His salary tag, though, was always a subject for questions and the Spanish ended up having his contract bought out last March.
Ashe played only nine matches for the Lions and did not have his contract option picked up by the club, leaving after only five months. He played one more MLS season for Columbus Crew SC and retired before the start of the current season.
Last year, the Lions were less active in the market during the summer, acquiring Argentinean midfielder Matias Perez Garcia through a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes and signing Uruguayan center back Jose Aja. The team made a couple of minor moves as well, acquiring the MLS rights to Tony Rocha and Mikey Ambrose — both OCB players at the time.
The 32-year-old Perez Garcia had a one-year stint with Orlando and left the club a couple of weeks ago after his contract expired. He appeared in 28 matches for the club, scoring one goal and registering four assists.
Aja, on the other hand, has become a solid starter for Orlando, amassing 20 starts with the club since his arrival. He was signed on a loan deal at first but Orlando later made his move from Nacional permanent.
As the examples above show, Orlando City has not traditionally made big splashes in the summer transfer market. The club, though, has been able to add some solid contributors and that could be all it needs this season as the playoffs look closer than ever.