After his amazing performances against Minnesota United FC, Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake in the past weeks, Chris Mueller has set a new debate over Orlando City fans’ table: is the young striker a future star?
It might be too soon to speculate about his real potential but it’s undeniable to accept that just a few players on Major League Soccer are capable of adapting this fast to a new team, and even more uncommon when they are coming from a lesser league full of youngsters. His continuous appearance on the scrimmage’s score sheets granted a bit of illusion in relation to what he will provide in a real competition such as MLS.
The 21-year-old forward comes to the Lions as an All-Big Ten First Team selection in 2016 and 2017, achieving the 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award as well thanks to his 20 assists (nation leader) and 9 goals scored in 21 appearances.
According to head coach Jason Kreis words in training interviews, Mueller -alongside Cam Lindley transfer- could be the best SuperDraft pick in his entire career as a manager. Also, the experimented coach only has compliments and great opinions every time he refers to Mueller’s performances on the pitch and his commitment in trainings, being his physical condition a key characteristic of his game.
On the other hand, a superstar such as Sacha Kljestan, assisting leader of the last two MLS seasons and a player with lots of international experiences, had a great impression about Mueller’s play-style and attitude in the current preseason, referring to him as young talented guy eager to contribute to the Lions’ 2018 season.
Taking in account all the events, comments and games in the few weeks of trainings, Mueller is starting to increase the hype in some of the most enthusiastic sector in the Orlando City’s fanbase. Also, many reporters, journalist and soccer-related sources are keeping an eye on the young striker, waiting for the 2018 MLS season to start and looking forward to debate about his performances.
However, it’s a safe bet to assure Kreis will develop Mueller’s abilities step by step, giving him some opportunities to play as a starter but not exaggerating nor pushing him too much. Like it has happened before in other clubs all over the world, other young promises ended as flops because of the poorly-management done by their coaches, who, believing the youngsters were ready for the challenge, pushed them towards a difficult road destined to fail due to not having enough both mental and physical preparation.
Definitely, if we consider talent and the current adaptation, Chris Mueller could be a great player good enough to be considered a star in the future, nevertheless, preparation and correct coaching is needed to fulfil this Orlando City fans’ desire. Like in every other sport, commitment, responsibility and effort will determine any player’s career.