ORLANDO, Fla. – Yoshimar Yotun understands he needs to hit the ground running with his new Orlando City SC teammates this week, but he’s confident he can have the right impact – and so is head coach Jason Kreis.
The Peruvian international has had his first two training sessions with the Lions since his transfer from Sweden’s Malmo last week, and he is definitely ready to try to help revive the team’s playoff hopes.
“I was able to watch some games [on video] and I think it’s a very good team,” Yotun said via an interpreter after training on Wednesday. “Obviously they haven’t been able to get the results just lately, and it’s obvious that the team is anxious to get some wins, but for me the moment we get that good result, we will get the confidence to get back into a good rhythm.
“I am very happy to know the club’s interest was always there. It was a year of a lot of work between my agent and the club, but luckily I was able to join in the end. I definitely believe in this project and I am very happy to be a part of it.”
Yotun, 27, has had to make a quick transition, considering he was playing in the relative cool of a Swedish summer as recently as July 29, and he admits it has been somewhat stark.
“Yes, it’s totally different,” he added. “Sweden is nine months of cold and now I’m struggling a little bit with the heat in Florida. I’m just trying to adapt as quick as I can to be able to contribute on the field. But it’s been great so far. This is a great group [of players] and a great organization, the front office is treating me amazingly, and the training facilities and stadium are top notch.”
While the midfielder is versatile enough to fill several different positions, including at left back, there is little doubt where he will line up for Orlando.
“I am an attacking midfielder, and the coach knows it,” he insisted. “I can play on the outside and I can play on the inside, and I am always willing to help wherever the coaching staff needs me, but the attacking role suits me best.”
Coming in with the Designated Player tag could be an extra burden for a newly-arrived player from a different league, but Yotun is upbeat about the challenge.
“The pressure is always there,” he said. “Throughout my career I’ve been managing this pressure, with the national team, with professional clubs. I just have to make sure I continue to manage it and perform on the field.”
Kreis believes the left-sided player should be able to make an impact straight away, starting with Saturday’s trip to New York Red Bulls (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE), provided they get the red tape sorted out.
“There is still a paperwork issue right now, but we think we can get it sorted out and he will be ready for the game,” the head coach insisted. “We’ve had two training sessions so far, and two really good ones from him. He shows he’s very capable with the ball, is an excellent passer, knows where it needs to go, and he’s versatile. It’s really good to have an addition like that in our squad. But, first and foremost, the best position is where he plays for Peru, as a box-to-box type midfielder with some real good attacking ideas in the final third, so that’s where we’ll be looking at him first.”