It is really quiet in Orlando City SC land. The club continues its two weeks of closed-door camp, and there have been only a few pieces of information released from that camp — and yes, I used the word “released” on purpose. The toil and troubles from MLS Media Day seemed to have been somewhat forgotten, and the biggest gripes I have seen lately online are people wondering why this past USMNT match wasn’t played in Orlando.
So, what have we learned this past week, the first official week of preseason? The Lions waived Stefano Pinho, they released 2019 SuperDraft pick Tommy Madden (taken 38th in the draft), and the club hired new Senior VP of Marketing and Brand Pedro Franklin de Araujo. Of those three, the marketing announcement was the most surprising to me. Is this some sort of signal that the front office has admitted it has lost touch with some of the fan base? Mr. Araujo’s resume sounds very impressive, and maybe he is just what is needed to help continue to bring back some of the grassroots feel that some of us remember.
The comments from players and coaches are all very positive, pointed, and optimistic, and even though it would seem every starting position is up for grabs, the individuals in front of the microphones talk about the “team.” Orlando City isn’t burdened with the issues of some teams in MLS right now, like those teams struggling with more than three Designated Players, but they don’t need to be. That team mentality, which is hopefully translating into tactics burned into the players’ minds, is the mentality that we should all hope is being discussed every second of every teachable moment during the current two-a-days. One constant that seemed to permeate the critiques, concerns, and frustrations that fans had with the team last season, and to a lesser extent the seasons prior, was a lack of team mentality. It seems to me that they may be addressing this from the sound of the starting gun.
Player movement has been quiet for the Lions, with the exception of the waiver and release mentioned above. Unlike previous seasons, there are no wild rumors of some big name coming to Orlando.
I haven’t seen a good transfer rumor in a while, not even a wild tin-foil-hat-the-earth-is-flat-Elvis-runs-a-burger-joint-in-North-Carolina kind of rumor. I see plenty of speculation about plenty of other teams around MLS, just not the Lions. Considering the debacles of seasons past, has the front office — the new and improved front office — finally found a way to plug all of the holes in the dike and keep things out of the public eye until it is appropriate? I certainly hope so, because the roster is looking a bit thin at the moment with only a few weeks until the season kicks off.
It has gotten so quiet in OCSC land that I am beginning to get distracted by my own thoughts and conspiracy theories. When things get quiet, you have time to think, and read, and research, and jump head first into the rabbit hole. When the internal sounds have nothing to fight against in terms of external competition, the mind will wander off the beaten path, and quickly find correlation in random events.
This is one occurrence where the quiet is both good and bad. Bad, because of the obvious, but also good in that we are witness to change. The collective fandom has been screaming for change, and you are getting it, as subtle as it may be. Our patience will be rewarded soon, and I am guessing it will be deafening.