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Three Orlando City Players Who Could See More Playing Time With a New Coach

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Some Lions could all improve their roster statuses after Jason Kreis’ exit.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former Orlando City SC head coach Jason Kreis used most of the field players he had available during the team’s first 15 MLS matches of the season (midfielder Pierre da Silva is the only one yet to see the field) but, as with any other club, some had more playing time than others.

With Kreis gone, some changes in the team’s lineup and game day roster are expected, regardless of whoever takes over for him. With that, some players who were not favored by Kreis in 2018 could have a new hope and more frequent opportunities to show what they are about.

Here are three of them:

Donny Toia

The 26-year-old left back experienced what was arguably the greatest depreciation within Orlando’s roster in 2018 as, after starting 29 and playing in 30 of the team’s 34 MLS matches last year, he has been limited to just one match and 61 minutes this season. Toia was immediately stripped of his starting spot after Mohamed El-Munir’s arrival and it seemed that Kreis entirely lost his confidence in the former Montreal Impact player.

The fullback didn't necessarily help himself in the 61 minutes he played against New York City FC a couple of weeks ago and he had apparently lost even his place as the second option at the position, but perhaps a new coach could bring him some hope.

Dillon Powers

The former Colorado Rapids man has never been a regular with the Lions, but he managed to play six matches and start four of them in 2017 after he joined the team last August. This year, however, his MLS playing time has been as low as the two minutes he played against Toronto FC.

Powers faced big competition in the center midfield spots with the likes of Cristian Higuita, Uri Rosell, Yoshimar Yotún, and Will Johnson all seeming to be higher on Kreis’ pecking order, but he left a good impression in his only start in 2018 as he played all 90 minutes and scored a goal against Miami United FC in the U.S. Open Cup. A starting spot could be out of Powers’ reach now, but some selections to the game day roster and more minutes on the field could be reasonable with a new coach coming to town.

Jose Villarreal

The LA Galaxy product was the last of Orlando City’s new faces to have an opportunity to play under Kreis as he was first used by the coach against New York City FC on June 4 for just nine minutes. Villarreal was struggling with a few minor injuries before that and they might have cost him a good opportunity to make an impact for the team as he was sidelined for most of the time Dom Dwyer was also out and, even if not an ideal solution, he could be an option to replace the striker.

After his debut, Villarreal played 26 minutes in the U.S. Open Cup and 33 last weekend against the Montreal Impact. His performances have not been impressive so far, but he has shown some flashes and perhaps he could lure a new coach to give him some minutes if he regains his best form and shows what he can do in training sessions.