If you keep up with professional soccer here in the states it’s likely that you already know about the expansion plans of Major League Soccer.
In 2015 the league will add two franchises – a brand new team in New York and USL Pro side Orlando City – to its roster of franchises.
But first, the defending champion Lions must finish out one more season in the second division. They hosted their home opener on Saturday, finishing in a 1-1 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
While the Florida Citrus Bowl receives a makeover and the details of a new soccer-specific downtown stadium are finalized, Orlando City will play out its 2014 campaign at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee.
And coaches will be paying close attention to the players they have under contract as they look ahead to jumping to the big leagues, and who they’ll take with them after winning two USL Pro titles over the past three years.
Current players signed for both this year and the jump to MLS in 2015 include Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Yordany Alvarez and Tyler Turner.
But keep an eye on defender Luke Boden, who not only scored Orlando City’s only goal Saturday while showing an impressive touch on his passes from the wing, but was named to the USL Pro Team of the Week after assisting on a goal during a 1-1 draw on the road against the Charleston Battery.
It’s very likely a few others will emerge as key components as the season evolves.