Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: On paper they’ve got depth and talent everywhere, and it all seems to fit together. There are some overlapping skill sets, but that’s more in the service of creating depth rather than poor roster planning. I’m bullish on this team. I think it’s going to work because they’re going to be able to keep the ball and use it.
- Weakness: If they don’t keep the ball and use it, I’m not sure the backline is good enough anymore to shut and lock the door. Robin Jansson’s in his 30s and Antônio Carlos will be as of Matchday 3. Both guys are coming off of injury-filled seasons, and the depth behind them is uninspiring.
- Júnior Urso: Orlando’s offseason was kicked off by the shock departure of Júnior Urso, who left on a mutual contract termination last November. The Brazilian midfielder made 87 appearances over three seasons and was crucial to the club’s recent ascent.
- Ruan: Another constant starter left after Urso, with right back Ruan joining D.C. United in a trade. Ruan made 101 appearances for Orlando over four seasons, an effervescent overlapping force down the right flank.
- João Moutinho: Former No. 1 overall MLS SuperDraft pick João Moutinho left Orlando (and the league) as his contract expired this winter, joining Italian Serie A side Spezia. He started 28 games in 2022.
- Martín Ojeda: Orlando City’s pursuit of Martín Ojeda long predates this offseason. They kept in near-constant contact for a year and had a scout at all of his games. The Argentine winger finally arrives as an in-prime dual-threat on the wing, expected to contribute a bunch of goals and assists after posting 13g/14a in 2022 with Godoy Cruz. He forms a powerful one-two attacking punch with Facundo Torres.
- Rafael Santos: One of the club’s like-for-like changes sees Brazilian left back Rafael Santos arrive from Cruzeiro. Santos won Brazil’s second tier with Cruzeiro and spent half the season on loan in the top flight with Coritiba.
- Ramiro Enrique: Truly, some of the club’s most significant “additions” were re-signing Mauricio Pereyra and Pedro Gallese. But they’re not new players, so let’s highlight U22 Initiative attacker Ramiro Enrique, who was acquired from Banfield this winter. He’s a dynamic, rising forward who can play through the center or on the wing.
- Full roster
Projected Starting XI
- Marcelo Balboa: 6th in East
- Charles Boehm: 4th in East
- Tom Bogert: 3rd in East
- Matt Doyle: 3rd in East
- David Gass: 12th in East
- J. Sam Jones: 5th in East
- Sacha Kljestan: 2nd in East
- Kaylyn Kyle: 6th in East
- Joseph Lowery: 7th in East
- Melissa Ortiz: 5th in East
- Danielle Slaton: 2nd in East
- Andrew Wiebe: 2nd in East
- Bradley Wright-Phillips: 11th in East
Odds & Ends
- Head coach: Oscar Pareja
- Stadium: Exploria Stadium
- Last year: 14W-14L-6T, 48 points, 7th in East
- Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Round One