Welcome back, Mane Landers! Well, it’s almost upon us. This Saturday the Lions host New York City FC for the first match of the season, and what will I be doing? I’ll be at work since it’s an early start time. Go figure, right? Nonetheless, it’s definitely exciting for all of us that wear purple to get things going. With that in mind, let’s get to the good (and bad, and ugly) stuff .
Nani is here. There are those that complain that at 32 years old, he’s too old. That he’s on the down slope of his career. I say, so what? Do you honestly think that someone who played 18 matches and Captained Sporting Lisbon cannot be a factor in the midfield for Orlando City in MLS? From 2007 to 2014, he plied his trade with Manchester United where, as Michael Citro put it in our article regarding the signing:
“During his over seven years at Old Trafford, Nani accumulated 230 appearances across all competitions with 40 goals and 73 assists. He won the EPL championship four times and a UEFA Champions League title in 2008.”
That’s not to mention the three World Cup appearances and the Euro 2016 crown he’s been a part of with Portugal. Nani is a world-class player who brings experience, talent, and skill to a much younger Orlando City club. His DP contract is for three years, taking him out to 35 years old. If he can use those three years to help develop the younger guys in the club while scoring some goals and getting some assists, then this is a very good signing. There’s every reason to think he can do exactly that.
Christine Nairn was traded for an international spot and two draft picks. Whether that is worth it or not will depend on what happens to that international spot. The draft picks are just lottery tickets, and probably not good ones at that. The actual bad is that we are very close to the start of the preseason and the Pride are shedding more players than they are acquiring. I’m not that worried yet, though I am looking a little sideways at Head Coach Marc Skinner in a “you’re cutting it kinda close aren’t ya” way. Both Monica and Poliana have departed, now Nairn is gone, and there are still a bunch of players that need to be signed if they’re staying. I’m certain there is a plan. I’m certain that Skinner has a vision. I’d just like for him to share it with the rest of us in the manner of getting some players for the 2019 season.
Cristian Higuita was honored as the first Lion to reach 100 appearances. I’m happy for him, and he deserves the honor. Where the ugly comes in is that there’s quite a bit of dispute regarding how they got that number and, as such, if he was really the first. Orlando City says that it was for 100 appearances across all competitions, but if that was the case they have seemingly accounted for some friendly matches, but not others. Also, if it was just competitive matches, he’d still be three short. Then there’s the problem of excluding the USL days. Players like Kevin Molino, Luke Boden, and Dennis Chin all get overlooked because of how Orlando City decided to approach this milestone. Frankly, I think it’s wrong to do so, though I don’t want to take anything away from Higuita. It’s just that the front office could have handled all of it a bit better.
There you have it. Let me know in the comments below if I’m nuts, if we’re both nuts, or if you think I missed something. Go Lions! Go Pride!