MLS 2015 Season Preview: Orlando City SC

As the 2015 season draws closer, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what Orlando City SC will be hoping to achieve in their first-ever season…

The arrival of Orlando City SC into Major League Soccer is fast approaching and we are excited to see what they have to offer. Expectations to perform will be high, but with Kaka leading the team they stand a strong chance of finishing at the top end of the Eastern Conference in their inaugural season. As it is their first ever campaign people will question how much they can achieve, but their introduction to MLS is exciting and we are looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

Last season’s finish: N/A (Inaugural Season)

Orlando City players huddle up in preseason action (Photo: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/)

Orlando City players huddle up in preseason action (Photo: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/)

What to expect this year:

Seeing as it is their initial season we obviously cannot compare previous campaigns, but with the players they have bought in there are high expectations. With big signings Orlando have to reach the playoffs and much comparison will be made between them and fellow expansion franchise, New York City FC. With Kaka at the heart of the midfield we can expect classy counter-attacking play led by a calm experienced head. Aurelien Collin will play a major part into how they perform defensively and his MLS experience is vital. Bryan Rochez has been brought in as a Designated Player up top and he will be expected to score the goals that fire Orlando to success this year.

Key changes to the squad:

As it is their first season the squad building at Orlando was vast. Their key additions are:

Ins: Kaka – Midfielder (Designated Player), Bryan Rochez – Forward (Designated Player), Aurelien Collin – Defender, Brek Shea – Midfielder, Donovan Ricketts – Goalkeeper, Amobi Okugo – Defender

Outs: N/A 

Key player: Kaka – Midfielder

Kaka Orlando City SC

There isn’t much to say about former Ballon d’Or winner that already hasn’t been said. He will play a pivotal role in Orlando’s first season and his experience in the squad is unparalleled. Playing at the top level and wrapping up European honours such as the Champions League, La Liga and Serie A mean he is the star. The 2002 World Cup winner will take the pressure for the Lions’ performances on the field and will improve the players around him. The rest of the Orlando squad can learn so much from Kaka and the number 10 will need to be at his brilliant best to set examples and keep his side composed. The 32 year old is a natural finisher and will show why he is regarded so highly by driving the side on with his midfield surges and range of passing. Kaka has always been a pleasure to watch and don’t expect that to change in MLS.

One to watch: Bryan Rochez – Forward

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The Honduran forward has an impressive goals-to-games ratio for former club Real Espana with 30 in 62 and he could be a dark horse for the Golden Boot this season. He has showed in glimpses what he is about in Orlando’s preseason campaign and will need to prove he is worthy of the DP tag Orlando have given him. The 20-year-old striker will enjoy working with Kaka and the service he should receive gives him a good chance of continuing his impressive scoring record.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 2nd

Orlando should have a strong first season and we are expecting big things from them. With the squad they have we can expect them to put up a good challenge against everyone they face. The team is strong throughout with experienced defenders, and creative midfielders and Adrian Heath has one of Major League Soccer’s strongest team’s on paper. With Kaka at the heart of it all we are just counting down the days until kick off now.

How will Orlando do in their first-ever MLS season?

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MLS Fantasy Tips: Value for money picks

The new Major League Soccer season is drawing ever closer and that means it’s time to start weighing up your MLS fantasy football options ahead of the new campaign.

Here we’ll look at the best players in terms of value for money from the current list of players on the official MLS Fantasy Soccer game. We’re excited for the new season and fantasy football is one of the best ways to get involved with the fastest growing league in world sport if you’re new to MLS.

Below is a list of the five players we believe will be more than worth their price tag this year and some of them should probably be worth more.

Everyone will want that star name whether it be Kaka, David Villa or Robbie Keane but we take a look at the players that will keep you in the hunt for the fantasy title in your league at a more affordable price.

1. Bryan Rochez – Striker (Orlando City)

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It’s surprising that you can have a new Designated Player for just $7.0m. Rochez is a risk, but we believe he’s one worth taking, as you have to assume he will lead the Orlando City line. And after all, someone has to finish Kaka’s great work. Right?

2. Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper (FC Dallas)

Kennedy was left without a club after the disbandment of Chivas USA. and Dallas picked him up in the Dispersal Draft and now he can be yours for $5.0m.

In terms of a starting goalkeeper, that price is cheap. Especially when you consider Dallas is expected to challenge for a playoff spot again this season. The only catch could be Chris Seitz as the ‘keeper made 14 starts last year and will compete with Kennedy for the starting role.

3. Will Bruin – Striker (Houston Dynamo)

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Bruin will start up top going into the season, and depending on the form of Erick Torres upon arrival, he could be a crucial member to this Houston side for the entire campaign.

He scored ten times in 27 appearances last term so he has proved he can deliver. A slight risk at $8.0m but we believe he’ll be more than worth that price tag, especially in the early months of the season.

4. Otis Earle – Defender (FC Dallas)

A first round draft pick this year and at $4.0m Earle is the cheapest it can get and we are hoping the young defender will see regular first-team action in Dallas after Jair Benitez left the club.

Earle is known to attack down the left side from left-back and could form a lethal partnership with Fabian Castillo this year.

And at such a low price he’s worth having in the side even if you’re just making room for a star man like Kaka or Sebastian Giovinco.

5. Sam Cronin – Midfielder (Colorado Rapids)

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Cronin was traded to the Rapids from the San Jose Earthquakes in the offseason and is set to partner Marcelo Sarvas in a new-look Colorado midfield so he will see game time.

If you just want someone who will reliably see the field week in, week out, then Cronin is your guy. And at $6.0m, he is a low risk pick.

Who do you think will be the best fantasy player for value in 2015?

Orlando City sign Bryan Rochez as second designated player, but who is he?

On another big day of spending for the Florida-based side, Orlando City have have taken a huge gamble by making Bryan Rochez their second designated player after Kaka.

At the ripe age of nineteen he has made a meteoric rise in his country of birth, Honduras, and already has six caps for Los Catrachos.

The news comes as a bit of a shock seeing as Orlando have been linked with more high-profile targets such as Robinho and Brek Shea recently.

However, in Rochez they have a natural goalscorer as he was the second highest scorer in the Honduran Premier League last season with 20 goals. And he has started this campaign with the same form, netting eight times in fifteen appearances.

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Rochez is the first Honduran to be a part of the Orlando City squad and joins fellow designated player, Kaka, in Orlando’s debut season in MLS.

He was a member of the Honduran under-20 team that won the Central American games in 2013, where he scored the winner as they won 1-0 against Costa Rica in the final.

Orlando now has a fresh young talent in Rochez but he is yet to be proven in the fast paced game that MLS provides. And at only nineteen years of age, will this big gamble pay off for Orlando City?

Many will question this bit of business from the Florida-based franchise, however, he could be just the key finisher to latch on to the creativity that Kaka is sure to provide.

Do you think Bryan Rochez will be a success at Orlando City?