With the 2018 MLS Season ready to kickoff Saturday, our crew at Orlando Lions Den look to give our season predictions. In 2017, Orlando City collected 19 points in the first 8 games of the campaign, racing off to the lead in the Supporters Shield standings after 8 weeks of play. What came after that, however, was an epic collapse to the bottom of the table and missing out on playoff qualification for last season.
Orlando City easily has the most active offseason of any team in MLS. With the distraction of Cyle Larin gone, and Ricardo Kaka now retired, Orlando City look to a revamped roster in 2018 to lead it to the playoffs for the first time. During the offseason, the Lions secured the services of Sacha Kljestan, the reigning 2x MLS assist leader, and Justin Meram, an MLS Best XI player who had 13 goals and 7 assists for Columbus last year. The Front Office also searched internationally, signing ex MLSer Uri Rosell, who won a title as a CDM starter with SKC in 2013, and Lamine Sane, who comes with over 200 games experience in top flight leagues, including appearances in the UEFA Champions League. Don’t forget about our Young DP, Josue Colman, who may not be ready to dominate this year, but promises a great future at the Club.
Although most of the squad was put together this offseason, the chemistry appears to be already clicking. Yoshi, Dom, Spector, Sutter, and Bendik are all returning, and have seemingly adapted well with the new members of the squad. The OCSC fanbase has known the Jason Kreis is all about “togetherness”, and with this roster, that doesn’t seem to be an issue. We have a strong leader at every position on the pitch, with Dwyer leading up top, Kljestan in the middle, and our recently named 2018 captain, Jonathan Spector, in the midfield. Spector proved in 2017 the type of asset he is to this Club, not only with his play style, but leadership as well. Orlando City seem to be in fantastic hands with Spector wearing the armband.
With all of this going on in the offseason, it is extremely tough for OC fans to not get too excited about what’s to come this year. With most of the supporters eyeing the playoffs, it’s difficult not to have higher hopes for this squad of already proven players. There are tons of uncertainties regarding this team, but one thing is for certain. If Jason Kreis can’t get it done this season with this team, he will surely find himself out of a manager job in 2019.
Here are the predictions on the 2018 MLS season from your crew at OrlandoLionsDen:
From @Jason_Jose: “After an Off-season that looked glamorous with all these acquisitions, injuries and chemistry hurt Orlando in the beginning of the season. However, by July it will be smooth sailing to the playoffs for Orlando City! City finishes 5th and makes it to the Eastern Conference Final.”
From @AlexBrownSwag: “It’s time to show this town what a playoff game feels like. This is a totally different OC team, and the point total will show it. I put Orlando at 54 points, good enough for the 4th seed, and a home playoff game. From that, momentum carries us to our first ever MLS Cup, where we will play the LA Galaxy in the final! Go City!”
From @ghost_reiter: “Orlando City will end in 3rd place in the East, with a victory in our opening playoff game. The MLS season comes to an end in the conference semis, but Orlando City will have the chance to play for some silverware, advancing to the Open Cup final.”
From @CleonONE: “Similar to the rest of the group, I envision Orlando City earning the 4th seed in the East. From there, anything can happen. As far as the US Open Cup, this team can win a game or maybe two, but the main focus will be on the MLS Playoff race.”
From @EddieTheCommish: “With the offseason enhancements, the biggest question that remains is the chemistry. Will the team gel as a brand new unit? Will we make the playoffs? Will Orlando City finally get over the ‘dog days of summer’? I say YES! We will lock up the 4th seed, secure a home playoff game, and advance all the way to the conference final. As far as the US Open Cup? We gon’ win it! Silverware is in the future for our Lions of Orlando.”
Do you agree? Where do YOU see Orlando City finishing the 2018 season at? Let us know here at Orlando Lions Den!