The 2018 MLS Super-Draft is underway, with the first two rounds completed on Friday, and the final two rounds expected to be completed this afternoon. Orlando City had but one pick in the draft, taking Chris Mueller from the University of Wisconsin with the sixth pick in Round 1. Orlando City used its other picks in trades that transpired between the acquisition of Dom Dwyer in August of 2017 (4th round pick) to transactions during the current offseason.
Colman Signing Completed
In addition to the draft-day acquisition, Orlando City has completed the transaction for Josue Colman and added UNC product Cam Lindley in a trade with the Chicago Fire. This brings a total of nine new faces to the OCSC roster since the end of the 2017 season and marks the confirmed departure of three players to other teams or leagues. This does not include Cyle Larin, who appears to have got himself mired in the middle of a messy probable transaction to the Turkish Super League pending agreement with Orlando City SC and FIFA over a transfer fee. In any case, I don't expect Larin to be on the roster come March 3, despite any memos or statements by the club. At this point, I think his presence would be disruptive to the locker room and he should be relegated to the practice squad if an agreement can't be made to ship him off to the Turks.
I've read the statements from Orlando City's front office and searched the global soccer sites I can find for information on Josue Colman, including the Cerro Porteno and Paraguay Primera Division pages, and there's not much detailed statistical data on the young man other than the number of starts and his scoring. They don't seem to track other important stats like Assists, shots, blocks, tackles, and passing accuracy. Even the usually reliable WhoScored.com doesn't have any data on him. If I find more information or if more is published I'll relay it in future postings.
Lindley and Mueller Add Young Depth
As for Cam Lindley and Chris Mueller, their stats are both from the athletic departments of their respective universities (UNC in the case of Lindley, U Wisconsin in the case of Mueller). Both players contributed significant minutes and started nearly all the games for their respective teams. This is important to note since in the NCAA a 20-game season is compressed into the space of about 10 weeks, meaning that these players have often made multiple starts in the same week. That speaks well for their conditioning and should help Orlando City with the depth problems they encountered during May and June of last season when they played 13 matches in nine weeks and started the tailspin to mediocrity that they couldn't recover from the rest of the year.
Lindley started all 22 games for UNC and tallied 7 goals and 13 assists in 1872 minutes (averaging over 85 minutes per match). Mueller started all 21 matches for Wisconsin and tallied 9 goals and 20 assists in 1790 minutes (also averaging over 85 minutes per match). In terms of physical play, the NCAA game translates well to MLS, as both leagues rely on a lot more player contact and bodily pushing players off the ball than is found in the European game. We will have to see how the talent level impacts the play of these two rookies, but it's promising that both of them scored more goals in 22 or fewer matches than all but one player on the 2017 OCSC roster. With the addition of a playmaker of Sacha Kljestan's quality, it's encouraging to think that The Wall will have a lot more reasons to fill Orlando City Stadium with smoke in 2018.
Below is an updated table of the off-season transactions to date. Again, I'll keep this updated if there is more hard news about players joining or leaving the team before the season starts.
|Adam Grinwis||Signed||GK||--||--||--||--||--||61||77.2% (sv%)|
Josue Colman stats incomplete on club and international web sites.
Cam Lindley stats from UNC Athletics web site.
Chris Mueller stats from U Wisconsin Athletics web site.