The news could have been better but it most certainly could have been worse. Orlando City center back Jonathan Spector will miss the next two to three weeks after injuring his knee during training this week. Per Alicia DelGallo’s story:
Spector sprained his Lateral Collateral Ligament or LCL, which runs along the outside of the knee and connects the thigh and shin bones, a spokesman for the club told the Sentinel.
The given recovery timeline means he will miss the Lions’ road match Saturday against the New York Red Bulls and home matches the next two Saturdays against the Columbus Crew and Vancouver Whitecaps. If he takes a full three weeks or more to come back, he could also miss the Sept. 2 game in New England.
Spector, 31, has largely stabilized the Orlando City defense in 2017. With his experience, he’s often adept at sniffing out an attacking threat and neutralizing it before it becomes a problem. He also helps his young partners — whether Jose Aja, Tommy Redding, or Leo Pereira — stay organized and keep sound positioning, and usually leads the club in clearances. His leadership will be missed as much as his outstanding technical play.
The Arlington Heights, IL, native has appeared in 21 of Orlando’s 23 games this season (all starts), producing a goal and an assist. His 1,890 minutes is the most of any outfield player for the Lions in 2017. According to whoscored.com, Spector is sixth in Major League Soccer in average clearances per game (5.8).
Redding and Aja will be the likely first-choice pairing during Spector’s absence, with Pereira on the bench for depth. The defense, already under fire due to an underperforming offense, will feel even more pressure over the next few weeks. Let’s hope the lads in purple can rise to the challenge.