Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s truly a miracle to see the weekend, although it only means more work for me. This has been a crazy week with news galore from Orlando City and the Orlando Pride, two drafts, the start of the Florida Cup, and, on top of all of that, I had a walkthrough of my new home, closed on it yesterday, and am in the midst of moving. Everything that has happened this week has done so at the most inconvenient of times.
That includes today, in which I’ll be shuttling some of my belongings to the new house, waiting for a new washer and dryer to arrive and get hooked up, and just generally trying not to lose my mind. I won’t be able to cover the Florida Cup matches today but with a little luck I’ll get back to my current home in time to watch the Orlando SeaWolves game and recap that.
But before any of today happens, let’s get to today’s birthdays, and there are several. A big Mane Land happy birthday goes out to Orlando City’s Cristian Higuita, Joao Moutinho, and Stefano Pinho. Many happy returns, lads!
Now for the news of the day.
Orlando City Adds Forward, Defender, Midfielder
The Lions had a busy first day of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft yesterday. Orlando stayed at No. 3 in the draft order and locked up forward Santiago Patino in the first round. Patino was not in Orlando City’s academy for long enough to qualify for Homegrown Player status but the Lions snapped him up with their draft pick. James O’Connor mentioned the importance of showing OCSC academy products that they are not only wanted in Central Florida, but they will be one of the club’s top priorities.
Also spoke with Orlando City HC James O'Connor.— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) January 11, 2019
"We want to make sure that we send a message to all our other homegrowns that are in college and that are out there that we are very intentional about developing players and bringing players through our system." pic.twitter.com/375xalHwxg
Orlando had two second-round picks and went defense with the first of those, selecting Syracuse university center back Kamal Miller at No. 27 overall. Miller says he’s ready to contribute. The second of those selections was used to draft midfielder Tommy Madden out of Charlotte.
There is no guarantee that any of the three will become quality MLS players. However, there is also no guarantee that they won’t. It will be interesting to watch their progression and see how they develop. For what it’s worth, Travis Clark on the MLS website gave Orlando City a B grade for yesterday.
If you missed any of yesterday’s selections or just want to check out how other teams did, here is the full list.
OCB Finishing Off Roster for USL League One Season
Just because we have only heard about two OCB signings so far doesn’t mean that the new USL League One side hasn’t been going about its business. Orlando City B is acquiring three players via loan from Brazilian partner club Athletico Paranaense, per Jordan Culver of ProSoccerUSA.com. Culver writes that his sources inform him that 26 players will be on the OCB roster, with seven of them coming from OCSC’s academy. Player ages range from 15 to 23 and average around 19. SIMA products Rafael Santos and Matheus Silva will reportedly be among OCB’s players in 2019.
Orlando SeaWolves Set for Florida Derby Rematch
The SeaWolves will look to bounce back from a 9-6 loss a couple weeks ago in Lakeland when they travel across I-4 to face the Florida Tropics for the second straight game — both on the road — tonight. The Tropics built a huge lead in the first meeting before the SeaWolves climbed back within two goals in the late going. Florida scored at the death to win by three.
“They (Florida) are a very good team, they’ve proven that,” Head Coach Tom Traxler said after training on Tuesday. “They deserved that win, hands down, no doubt about it. I saw that they have some very good pieces, good players, the coaching staff is good. For us, it’s about ‘do you want to go back and put something right, and we need to. We need to have a response. As a team, as individuals, as our group, we have to have a response.”
MLS Names Coach of the Year Award After Sigi Schmid
When Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber took the podium to kick off yesterday’s SuperDraft, one of his first announcements was that former MLS veteran coach Sigi Schmid will be honored by the league in the form of the Coach of the Year award bearing his name from now on. Schmid, who passed away on Christmas day, won numerous trophies in MLS, including two MLS Cups — one each with the Galaxy and the Crew. Good move by MLS.
- The Colorado Rapids signed Benny Feilhaber.
- Houston was active yesterday, signing midfielder Tommy McNamara and trading $175,000 in General Allocation Money to Colorado for midfielder Marlon Hairston.
- Speaking of Houston, D.C. United sent a second-round pick to the Dynamo to acquire goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
- Those born on this date — like Higuita, Moutinho, and Pinho — include novelist Jack London (1876), hockey and donut legend Tim Horton (1930), boxing’s Joe Frazier (1944), actress Kirstie Alley (1951), radio host Howard Stern (1954), journalist Christiane Amanpour (1958), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (1964), Rob Zombie (1965), hockey’s Marian Hossa (1979) and Claude Giroux (1988), and Borussia Dortmund/Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel (1989).
Aaaaaand, I’m spent. That’s it from me. Enjoy your weekend and hopefully I’ll be able to give you a write-up after the SeaWolves play the Tropics tonight.