From playing time, a coaching change and failing to make a major impact, the Paraguayan acknowledged there were high expectations when he signed with the Lions in January as a Young Designated Player.
Things just didn’t come to fruition – or at least how Colman expected the plans to unfold.
“I knew when I first arrived, there was high expectations of me, but things just didn’t go the way I hoped for, especially for the team and for me personally,” Colman told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “There were some positive moments that I think served as lessons since things didn’t go as we expected, but all we can do is look to finish the season strong and come back even better next season.”
The 20-year-old, who signed with Orlando from Cerro Porteño in January, has started eight times in 19 appearances this year.
While only scoring once this season, Colman has recorded five assists this year, including most recently the game-tying helper in stoppage-time against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 1.
While there’s always been pressure there to perform at a high level, Colman takes full responsibility for not meeting expectations.
“There’s always pressure at this level because you’re expected not to fail and to show why they brought you here,” Colman said. “With that, you just have to remain calm under pressure and do things good and try your very best and when opportunities come, you just have to take advantage of them.”
A midseason coaching change came as a surprise for Colman, but the midfielder saw James O’Connor's arrival as a new opportunity to impress and rejuvenate his form this season.
“It surprised me when I found out Jason [Kreis] was out as our coach,” Colman said. “James [O’Connor] arrives and I noticed how each coach has different methods and style and how they even look at the game. I always listen and do what is needed from me. I’m just happy that he has confidence in me and that helps me in seizing these opportunities on the field.”
Since O’Connor took the helm, however, Colman has only started two of the last 10 games in league play. Though the midfielder has appeared fives times as a substitute, he’s making the best out of those opportunities.
“I just want to finish this season playing to the best of my ability, see more playing time,” Colman said. “In the offseason, it’s more about reflecting back at this season and focusing on coming back better to help the team reach their goals.”
O’Connor said the main focus the team needs to have to finish the season strong is to have a winning mentality despite the obstacles. In regards to Colman and the rest of the younger players, it falls on laying out expectations and holding everyone, including the technical staff, responsible for the outcome.
“You need to create better understanding,” said O’Connor. “You outline the expectations, but you need to hold yourself accountable to the expectations and you have to hold your teammates and as a coaching staff, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”