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Off-Season Thoughts on Orlando City, the Pride and More

What might this off-season bring to those who support the Lions and the Pride? Our Dave Rohe shares his thoughts.

MLS: Orlando City SC at CF Montreal Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an odd time for those of us who cover the club. Now that the off-season is in full swing, the news comes in fits and starts, and always at the oddest hour. I thought I’d put out into the world my thoughts on what I will be looking for as we wait for the new season to begin.

Orlando City

A lot of what Orlando City will need to do in the off-season will depend on what happens to a few key players. Replacing Pedro Gallese may end up being less expensive than keeping him, but I’m all for spending the money to keep El Pulpo in Orlando. He is a top-five MLS keeper and that is difficult to replace.

The departure of Junior Urso will have an impact on whether Mauricio Pereyra is in Orlando next season. If Urso had stayed, it would have made it easier for Orlando City to bring in a younger number 10 with Urso there to provide stability in the midfield. Now, if Orlando City brings in another playmaker it will go one of two ways. Either Pereyra will be mentoring this player, or the new player will be thrown into the fire and be expected to fill the role immediately. What direction the club goes will have a big impact on how the first part of the season turns out.

Orlando Pride

Seb Hines is now the new head coach of the Pride. There is a bit of risk giving someone their first head coaching position, and that is true for the Pride with Hines. Conventional wisdom would say to get someone with previous experience, but that hasn’t panned out for the Pride in recent years. Hines won the respect of the squad when he stepped into the interim position, and that may be the thing most needed as the Pride rebuild. I anticipate that the club will provide Hines with the resources to do just that.

The needs for the Pride start at the top with filling the general manager position. With the 2023 NWSL Draft set for Jan. 12, 2023, the new GM will need to be in place in plenty of time to settle into the job in order to work with Hines and ownership on a plan for filling the Pride’s needs through picks, trades for picks, or trading picks for players.

The positional needs are many. The Pride recently re-signed Ally Watt — who can be a great attacking option if she stays healthy — but will need to bolster the attack even more. The greatest need continues to be the defense. We now know for the most part who is staying and who isn’t. This is a team that is getting younger, but despite some getting playing time last season there’s still a lot of growing and learning to be done.

The World Cup

It’s so close you can taste the freedom dripping off of the very plain USMNT jerseys. Suffice it to say, I’ll be wearing my fake Waldo kit rather than the kit with which Nike saddled our team. With the matches all being mid-afternoon, I will be surreptitiously watching in my office at work, trying to keep myself in check if the Yanks start scoring goals.

Even as I enjoy the play on the pitch, I’ll be keeping in mind the human rights tragedies that have made the World Cup in Qatar possible, and the blatantly corrupt organization — FIFA — that made it a reality. There’s nothing to be done about it now, but we can continue to raise our voices and express our discontent in hopes that something like this won’t happen again. Regardless, I will don the colors and metaphorically live and die every match.

The Mane Land

We here at The Mane Land do our utmost to provide the best coverage possible with a limited staff. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work,” and right now we’re not many hands. If you like to talk about Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, or OCB, you can write about them. I promise you can, and we will be there to help you. You wouldn’t be the first to transition. Most of us started out as readers of the site and moved into being contributors. I know I speak for the rest of the staff when I say please come join us.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what the off-season has in store for us, but I hope it can get the conversation started on what you and our fellow supporters are wanting or hoping for over the next few months.