Orlando City signed Josué Colmán just over a calendar year ago. The Paraguayan signed a Young Designated Player contract and was expected to be an attacking force. A year later, Colmán, still only 20 years old, has just 10 MLS starts, one goal (that went in off his back), and five assists. Those are not exactly the numbers the front office was hoping for.
The club knew that Colmán would need time to develop. After all, the Lions signed a teenager to a five-year deal. However, he is also a YDP, occupying a DP slot, and there is an expectation that comes along with that tag.
Colmán, who recently obtained his green card and no longer requires an international slot, showed a glimpse of his potential last season. He was flashy and excellent on the ball. Still, he did not do enough, and he needs to improve in 2019. For one thing, he should stop taking excess touches on the ball. Watching Colmán play is like watching someone on the treadmill. They run and run and run but get nowhere. Colmán makes these amazing skill moves that are great for the replays, but he doesn’t help progress the ball into dangerous areas.
The Mane Land staff gave Colmán just a 4.5 rating for his 2019 season. That’s not nearly good enough to justify his salary and DP slot, but it’s understandable that a teenager (as he was when he arrived) moving to a new country and adjusting to a new culture might take some time to fit in, especially in a physically demanding league like MLS. As our Sean Rollins wrote in his Season in Review piece:
Colmán is only 20 years old and can still develop into a quality player so it’s much too early to give up on him. He showed some genuine skill during the season but his failure to keep his head up with the ball and take the shot when open were his downfall. Like with many young players, 2019 will be a key season for Colmán. You can expect him to play an important role in the midfield, either starting or off the bench, and next season will be the true telling of whether he’s one for the future.
This season, he should focus on keeping things simple. Instead of trying to beat everyone on the field, pass the ball to the open player and work to get the ball back with his movement. Colmán’s focus should be quick ball movement.
This should also help him get more goals and assists. Ideally, the Paraguayan will finish the season in double-digit goals and assists. He is a YDP and, regardless of how old he is, players taking up DP slots need to produce.
Finally, Colmán needs to start in at least 70% of Orlando’s games this season. Having someone in a DP slot coming off the bench is a waste of the slot. He needs to be starting in the majority of games and earning that spot every day.
The 2019 season is full of new possibilities. It is a new season with an almost entirely different team. Will Colmán rise to the challenge, or will he join Bryan Rochez and Carlos Rivas as another failed Orlando City Young Designated Player?