Orlando City has a golden opportunity to significantly improve its offense this season. Bobby Wood could be coming to Major League Soccer, and the Lions should pursue the Hawaiian striker. This is, of course, subject to the opaque MLS Discovery List rules. The league has seemingly randomly applied the Discovery List rule, depending on the player and where they want to go.
Wood would be a top-level striker in MLS as his off-the-ball movement and clinical finishing make him an offensive threat for any team in the league. He sees the game very well and gets in the right positions to score and open up the offense for others.
He is effective in front of the net and scores goals that other forwards simply can’t convert. If he gets the ball in front of the net, he will put it away in most cases. Wood has the ability to score from distance on occasion, but the majority of his goals come from inside the 18.
Check out some of his best goals below:
Wood plays best with a second striker up top and new head coach Oscar Pareja will likely put Orlando City out in a 4-3-3. However, Wood could play on one of the wings and pinch into the middle more, probably the right. This would allow Ruan to take advantage of the space left out wide. Another option is for Wood to play up top and take over Dom Dwyer’s role in the offense. If he could succeed there, then it would likely lead to Dwyer going on the trading block.
The biggest issue right now is Wood’s lack of playing time. Hamburg currently sits in second place in 2. Bundesliga through 20 matches but the 27-year-old has only played a total of 152 minutes. If he wants a call up from United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, then Wood needs to play consistently. At his current state, Wood’s international career is over and that is likely why he wants a move to MLS. But the biggest question is whether or not he would be able to make the move.
Financially, it is going to be tough to pull off right now. If Wood leaves in this transfer window, then he will forgo around $3 million. If Hamburg gets promoted — and it is looking like it will — then he will make $4 million total.
No MLS team will offer Wood that money so he would be taking a considerable pay cut if he makes the move to MLS. FC Cincinnati offered him less than a million and Wood rejected it. Should he move to MLS, he would likely get a contract around that number or a bit higher.
Last season, four Lions made over $1 million: Nani, Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, and Mauricio Pereyra. The average salary for the team was around $419,000. Wingers and forwards made a little bit more, with an average around $637,000, although Nani and Dwyer are clear outliers.
If Orlando signs Wood, it would likely have to come during the summer transfer window. The teams could be able to work out a transfer deal now though and have it go through later during summer. This, of course, is up to Wood. If he is willing to take a multi-million dollar pay cut, he could come now. He would be signed to a Designated Player deal, which would likely force Pereyra’s contract to be bought down.
A move to MLS could reinvigorate Wood’s career. With a handful of forwards on the team, combined with the fact that Orlando is a smaller market, he would not be under immense pressure to perform. Orlando could be the perfect market for Wood, and the Lions’ front office would be silly not to at least pursue the forward.