The summer transfer window opens up on Monday, July 10, and it’s sure to bring an interesting month of rumors and transactions not just in Orlando but around the league. The silly season is here!
What Orlando City should and shouldn’t do in the window has been, and will continue to be, a wide-ranging discussion, especially as rumors continue to stick around regarding Colombian midfielder Juan Quintero, who is reportedly joining Orlando City for a fee in the neighborhood of $10 million.
Whether or not that move actually pans out, the Lions have several needs they need to address if Jason Kreis hopes to turn around the team’s form in the second half of the season and grab a playoff appearance for the first time in club history.
While Quintero may be the guy to fill this role, it’s been a need of the Lions for not just this season but since last year as well. Kaká is not the same player he was when he came into Major League Soccer, and he’s been used a lot differently by Kreis this season. Orlando City needs a player that can run the attack at the top of the midfield and be a difference maker. They need a Nicolas Lodeiro-type player to come in this summer and completely change the dynamic of the attack.
Quintero or not, Orlando City must find that kind of playmaker. Matias Perez Garcia went on a good enough run last season to make you believe he could repeat that performance in 2017. He didn’t. Kevin Molino was talented enough to be that guy, but he was traded to Minnesota.
Donny Toia was great the first two months of the season, but he’s arguably dropped off a ton since then and has been a shell of the player that we saw early in the campaign. Victor “PC” Giro has been okay at times, but he’s also not the answer at left back.
I don’t think the Lions will make a move to find another starting quality left back, but it’s something I would look into, personally. Left back has been an issue for the club since entering MLS, and while we thought that maybe the problem had been solved when Toia got off to his hot start, that hasn’t been the case as of late. More than likely, the coaching staff is hoping he’ll turn it back around.
There’s no depth at striker behind Cyle Larin, and that’s a huge problem. Giles Barnes is very much like Larin in that he’s more of a target forward, but he’s been largely ineffective as of late. I’ve never been sold on Hadji Barry, and Richie Laryea hasn’t played nearly enough to show anybody he’s a guy you can give a good chunk of minutes to down the stretch and expect great things from.
Very much like the midfield depth, this has been a big problem for Orlando City since it entered MLS, and very little has even been done to solve it. So here we stand again.
Using three defensive midfielders is not doing a whole lot to make things successful. Cristian Higuita has been in poor form lately, and while Antonio Nocerino and Will Johnson can still bring you a lot on a weekly basis, the team needs to find a way to bring a crafty winger into the mix, something that it hasn’t been able to find since shipping Molino away. MPG couldn’t fill that role as once intended, and Kaká only gets you so much on the left side.
The Lions need to find someone that can make things happen on the wings that results in more than just sending another unsuccessful cross into the box.
We saw last year that Kaká was capable of being the kind of player on the wing that could take the ball and run inwards and make plays, but he hasn’t been that same player this year. Outside of Carlos Rivas, nobody else on the roster has shown they’re capable of filling that role for the offense.