The Josué Colmán rumors are finally over as the club announced that the Paraguayan midfielder officially signed with Orlando City. In the middle of silly season, the Lions are making nonstop moves, and this is now the seventh player that Orlando has signed since December.
R.J. Allen and Stefano Pinho were the first two players brought in. Both of these were good signings, but will not add much to the starting team immediately. Allen will most likely be used as a depth option and will come off the bench for Scott Sutter at right back. Pinho will need to prove that he can play at a higher level and is a low-risk/high-reward signing.
Nine days later, Jose Villarreal and Mohamed El-Munir were added and, again, both are quality signings. El-Munir is a pretty unknown player but the club is high on him to challenge Donny Toia for the starting left back spot, spending an international slot on him. As for Villarreal, his status could change with the Cyle Larin saga unfolding the way it is. Should Larin leave, that might open the door for Villarreal — depending on if Jason Kreis keeps his 4-4-2 — but the California native will need to prove his worth in preseason first.
The biggest move was when the Lions traded for Sacha Kljestan. A proven MLS veteran, USMNT member, and assist king immediately improves Orlando’s midfield. Combined with Dom Dwyer up top, Yoshimar Yotún, and Colmán, Orlando has been putting together a solid midfield group together.
While the team has been coming along nicely, there is still one area that needs to be looked at — center back. Currently, Jonathan Spector and Jose Aja are the only center backs on the Lions’ roster. Both Spector and Aja are good options, but there needs to be improvement here or all the other changes will not matter.
Since Orlando has joined MLS, its defense has been an issue. Joe Bendik is a rock in the net and, sure, Spector helped some, but overall the defensive is weak and the Lions cannot go into the season with only those two center backs.
There are rumors of Nemanja R. Miletic being brought in, but nothing more than that. There is the MLS SuperDraft coming up, and if Orlando could manage a deal to move up and take Tomas Hilliard-Arce, then the Lions would have gotten a future MLS starter.
The problem with both is that Orlando needs a proven MLS center back before the season starts. There are countless players that could be brought in from trades and also some from free agency.
The club needs a powerful center back that can lead from the back. Aurelien Collin brought this when he was in Orlando, but it is something that has been missing since. This new signing will most likely pair next to Spector, and Aja will take the bench. After Aja’s poor end of 2017 that is probably a good thing anyway.
So, overall this has been a productive off-season. Larin needs to either stay or go, and that story needs to be put to rest. Other than that, the only glaring hole that is still present is in the center back position.