Lewis Neal is one of the few holdover players from the USL days of Orlando City. But in a move that is unusual for such a player, he actually came into 2015 with MLS experience after being loaned out to MLS clubs in the prior three seasons.
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2015 Review: Lewis Neal played a journeyman role in 2015. He played a lot more than he probably would have because of the injury situation, and he was another man with MLS experience that could help bring along the younger lads who were getting their first exposure to league play this season. He registered one assist and took 15 shots during the season, neither of which statistically seemed like major contributions. But Neal's value to the team was more based on the intangibles he brought to bear this season.
2016 Prediction: I think it's unlikely we will see Lewis Neal play a significant role as a starter in 2016. In fact I think it's a crap shoot whether we see him back with the team or see him packaged with some other utility players as part of a trade package for some stronger talent. If Neal is back with the team, it's likely he will spend time rotating on and off the 12 - 18 spots in the lineup throughout the year, and I'd be surprised to see him play in more than about 35% of the matches coming off the bench as a sub in the second half of matches, unless injury forces Inchy to use him more often.
What do you think? Do you expect to see Lewis Neal back with Orlando City next season? Do you think his experience adds enough value to the team that you want him to return, or would you like to see that roster spot used to find another player? Let me know in the comments!