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Report: Midfielder Oriol “Uri” Rosell Nearing Move to Orlando City

Per Paul Tenorio, the Lions are close to finalizing a deal to bring the defensive midfielder to Orlando.

SL Benfica v Portimonense SC - Portuguese Cup Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Today’s craziness just can’t stop, won’t stop. After a surprise deal brought Justin Meram to Orlando City, a pair of deals sent two Pride players packing and brought three from Seattle to Central Florida, and the news that the Cyle Larin saga may soon be over, this news is almost too much. Paul Tenorio reports that defensive midfielder Oriol “Uri” Rosell will soon be donning the Orlando purple as well.

Remember when everyone on social media and in our comments section thought the club was doing nothing? That was a fun week or so.

Anyway, MLS fans will remember Rosell, 25, from his stint at Sporting Kansas City from 2012-2014, where he appeared in 43 games, scoring two goals, and helping lead his team to MLS Cup in 2013, although he left the final early due to injury. The native of Puig-reig, Spain has been on loan from Portuguese side Sporting CP to Portimonense S.C. in that country’s Primeira Liga.

Sporting KC sold Rosell to Sporting CP (that’s not confusing at all to type) in June of 2014, just a month after an outing where the Catalonian completed an absurd 160 of 166 passes in a match against the Montreal Impact. Rosell wasn’t able to establish himself with the Portuguese giants, appearing in just 12 games with the Leões (hey, that means Lions!), before going on loan with Vitória S.C. in 2016, C.F. Os Belenenses in 2016-2017, and Portimonense S.C. in 2017. In 12 league games this year, Rosell has scored one goal and accumulated two yellow cards in 929 minutes of playing time.

Rosell is a proven MLS talent at defensive midfield. He is a ball winner who can pick out pinpoint cross-field passes, and is adept at linking the defense to the attack. Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself in this 12-minute (!) video:

There is still the matter of the cost of moving up in the allocation order. Orlando City sits at No. 6 in the order currently, with FC Dallas holding the top spot. With other potential suitors in line for Rosell’s services, the Lions would need to move up, possibly in exchange for some combination of allocation money, draft picks, and/or players.

What it Means for Orlando City

This is yet another step in a series of them toward building a stronger midfield for the Lions. With Cristian Higuita and Will Johnson still on the books, it seems likely one of the two will be moved and certainly both will see reduced minutes. Should the deal for Uri come to fruition — and Tenorio has proven to be deadly accurate in the past — Jason Kreis will have one of the most talented midfields in Major League Soccer and some decisions to make on how best to deploy all of his talent for maximum effect.

With the additions of Justin Meram, Josué Colmán, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Villareal, and Cameron Lindley to augment last summer’s big midfield signing, Yoshimar Yotún, the club has reached a new level. A 4-2-3-1 could see Yoshi and Rosell shielding the back line behind an attacking midfield of Meram, Colmán, and Kljestan, or some combination of those midfielders in a 4-4-2 beneath a strike tandem of Dom Dwyer and Stefano Pinho or rookie Chris Mueller. Villareal could also play as a second striker, or Colmán could play just beneath Dwyer at the top of the formation. Orlando City suddenly has both a talented and flexible midfield.

If enough of these players force their way into the starting lineup, it could also mean a return to left back for Yoshi, who would displace presumed incoming starter Mohamed El-Munir — the club’s pacy new fullback. I wouldn’t even rule out a three-man back line, pushing El-Munir/Yotún and Scott Sutter up the pitch, although that maneuver would necessitate more center back signings and currently the club already needs to add two. Higuita or Johnson may help the club land one domestically, while rumors continue to swirl that help in central defense is on the way soon from a European club.