When Estrela and Rafael Ramos each earned Major League Soccer contracts with the Orlando City Soccer Club in August the move from Portugal to Florida was made easier because of their existing friendship, forged under the youth soccer system of Benfica.
The 19-year olds played out the final month of the USL PRO season with the Lions this year and joined Portugal’s U-20 national team this month in what’s proved to be a busy stretch away from family and friends.
In just a matter of months they’ll continue the journey when they make their professional debuts with Orlando City as members of MLS in March.
Orlando City Soccer Club midfielder Kevin Molino added three more goals to his USL-PRO leading total Sunday in a 7-0 thrashing of the Dayton Dutch Lions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The hat trick is the second of the year for Molino and gives him 19 goals on the season.
When Molino collected himself for the post game presser he made it a point to dedicate his three-goal effort to Yordany Alvarez, who after suffering an injury during a game June 7 was forced to retire from the sport last week. The disarming comments made by Molino about his teammate were a change of pace from the typical answers he’s given to questions in the past.
As Molino knows, the games must go on. With just two regular season games remaining the Lions are in position to wrap up the regular season title and earn home field advantage throughout the postseason.
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.