Veteran center back Jonathan Spector has been named the second captain in Orlando City’s MLS history after the departure of star midfielder Kaká at the end of 2017. Spector’s captaincy was announced by the club via social media today.
Spector wore the captain’s armband various times in 2017 whenever the captain who started the match left the pitch, but he only started one match as captain last year — the club’s U.S. Open Cup match against Miami FC. (H/T to our own Sean Rollins, who meticulously tracks these things.) I assume Spector’s captaining skills were not responsible for that USOC loss.
The former English Premier League defender and U.S. international seems a solid choice as captain after substituting in that role a few times last year. The other contenders were former New York Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan — who was a logical favorite but will start the season with a two-game suspension — along with the currently injured Dom Dwyer (quadriceps), and last year’s replacement when Kaká was unavailable, Will Johnson. It would be difficult to name Johnson captain after his arrest last season, along with the depth in midfield that may keep him out of the starting lineup at times.
Yoshimar Yotún is an international player with a year under his belt in Orlando who could have been selected. Another possibility was Joe Bendik, but it’s difficult to captain a team from goal when so much of the action takes place on the other half of the pitch and talking to the referee would require leaving the net undefended on a quick restart.
All in all, naming Spector captain was probably the best decision given all of the circumstances. He is a well-respected veteran who has played in some of the world’s largest competitions, rarely loses his head, is an automatic starter when healthy, and should be available for selection right from the start of the season.
Here’s what Specs had to say about it: