Welcome back, Mane Landers! When I was first pondering what to write about this week I though I might simply put “nothing” under the good subheading. After all, there wasn’t much that could be construed to be good after that 4-0 beatdown. However, I read Michael Citro’s honest and frank take on his thoughts following the match, and being the generally positive person I am, I felt it would be unfair to not find something to be positive about. As such, I’m not going to focus on just the last game, but rather the entirety of the season. To be fair, some of these players could be in multiple categories.
When James O’Connor came on as Orlando City’s new skipper, he made it very clear that he values players that want to put in the work, give the effort, and be a part of a team. That might seem like coach speak, but given his career I think he means it. Let’s take a look at some of the players.
Dom Dwyer leads Orlando City with 12 goals so far this season. Additionally, no one works harder in front of goal than he does. Yes, he’s had a rough couple of games but he obviously hasn’t quit. Chris Mueller might have hit the rookie wall, but there’s no doubting his effort or his motor when he comes on as a substitute. I expect he’s exactly the type of player that O’Connor values. Yoshimar Yotún has been invaluable to the Lions this season. Of course there’s only so much one player can do. He might not have had a great last game, but I don’t think he’s the type to quit.
Carlos Ascues came into a difficult situation, and won a starting spot at center back. He’s generally been pretty good, and his partnership with Shane O’Neill has potential if they are given time going forward. Jonathan Spector did have to deal with injuries, but he never stopped being a leader. Whether he’s with Orlando City going forward might be up for debate, but his willingness to move to left back to help the team shows his quality. Scott Sutter is Mr. Consistent. He is a good MLS right back, who plays solid defense and provides the occasional offensive opportunities.
Justin Meram came into Orlando City saying all the right things. However, his play never developed as we hoped. Then there was the time away, the spats with the supporters, and ultimately the move back to Columbus. Victor “PC” Giro has been the promise unfulfilled, and evidently hasn’t shown O’Connor enough to get on the field lately. Stefano Pinho simply isn’t an MLS level striker. It’s not to say he can’t be one day, but he hasn’t been the added piece that Orlando needed to spell or complement Dwyer. Since he arrived in Orlando, Joe Bendik had played very well — that is, up until this season. I’m not certain why Bendik has regressed, but he has, and it has been bad.
Mohamed El-Munir has shown flashes of promise, while seemingly unable to play the position left back without giving up plenty of scoring chances for the opposing team. Sacha Kljestan and Meram were never able to get in sync when they were on the field together. I think Sacha has the right mindset, but whether he’ll ultimately be able to to fit in with the Lions remains to be seen. Lamine Sané, RJ Allen, and Chris Schuler were all a part of a ridiculous number of different back lines for Orlando City. Allen and Schuler were ultimately never meant to be the solution, but merely placeholders. With so many pieces on the back line, their time with Orlando CIty is not assured. Josué Colmán is another player with great potential, but potential that is unrealized. He was not the number 10 we were led to believe, though he could be one day. Whether, that is as a Lion, we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s funny that there was more good than I expected when I came up with the idea. I didn’t address every player, so feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below.