There’s so much to be done before the Orlando City Soccer Club even steps foot on the pitch as a Major League Soccer participant at the start of the 2015 season. Among the many obstacles to navigate is the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10 as Orlando City joins New York City FC in each selecting 10 players from those made available by current clubs.
Orlando City currently has just 10 players under contract for 2015 after defender Luke Boden and midfielder Harrison Heath finalized contracts with the club on Monday. Boden has spent the past four seasons with the Lions while Heath joined Orlando City near the end of the 2014 USL PRO season.
The Orlando City Soccer Club secured a home playoff game in the opening round of the USL PRO postseason on Saturday and extended their home winning streak to 17 matches in a 3-1 win over Harrisburg City.
Kevin Molino notched his 15th goal of the season in the win, tying the league’s single-season mark set a year ago by Orlando City loanee Dom Dwyer and Jose Angulo of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
After going scoreless in back-to-back matches for the first time in the four-year history of the Orlando City Soccer Club, the Lions returned to form Saturday by dismantling the visiting Charlotte Eagles 4-1.
Orlando City improved to 7-0-2 all-time against Charlotte by way of a 21-8 advantage in goals. The Lions (15-1-4) now own a 16-match unbeaten streak at home.
Kevin Molino scored twice on Saturday to raise his goal total on the season to 13 through 19 matches. Dennis Chin scored his sixth goal of the year and defender Tyler Turner scored his first professional goal early in the first half.
While the Orlando City Soccer Club has been preparing for its move to MLS by pursuing global stars such as the recently acquired Kaka and potential transfer Robinho, the club’s first MLS signee is having a breakout season in USL PRO.
Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino hasn’t had a lot of time to ponder what the 2015 roster might look like while helping the Lions (14-0-4, 46 points) remain unbeaten by way of an offensive explosion unlike any in his career.
“As a player that’s already signed for MLS [in Orlando] you always wonder who will come in and who you’ll be playing with next year,” Molino said. “It’s great to see that a couple big names want to come here. It shows we’ve been doing some good over the past couple years.”
Entering Sunday’s match at Rochester, Molino leads the league in points (29) and assists (7) and ranks third in goals scored with 11 in 17 appearances.
The start of the match was delayed 20 minutes because of inclement weather, but by the time it ended Wednesday the Orlando City Soccer Club had tied a franchise record set in 2012 when they last went 14 consecutive matches without a loss.
The Lions (11-0-3) made easy work of the visiting Orange County Blues by way of a strong defensive performance and three second-half goals.
The World Cup is just around the corner, and the preparation for some countries has shaken up the Orlando City Soccer Club’s roster.
The Lions went into Saturday’s match against the Montreal Impact Reserves riding an unbeaten streak of 12 games, but were without three key contributors due to national team obligations.
I talked to Orlando City coach Adrian Heath about how the club would handle those losses and also asked him his thoughts about English Premier League midfielder Brek Shea, who spent a little more than a week recently training with the team.
What a busy month it’s been for the Orlando City Soccer Club. The Lions took part in nine matches throughout the month of May and although they came away with great results, there’s been plenty of wear and tear along the way.
Despite falling to one of Italy’s best clubs in a friendly a couple weeks ago, Orlando City remains unbeaten in USL PRO through 12 matches after getting a win over Charleston on Saturday. Just a few days earlier they advanced to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by way of a win over Tampa Bay.
The Orlando City Soccer Club will join Major League Soccer in 2015 after finishing out their final season this year in USL Pro. While the Lions remain focused on defending their league title, there’s plenty of work being done to ensure the transition to the big leagues goes as smooth as possible.
Orlando City currently has five players under contract for 2015. I chatted with Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath last week about the signings and what they might mean for the club at the next level.