To get everyone ready for Atlanta United's third match of the season against rivals Orlando City, we spoke with The Mane Land's Michael Citro to get his take on Orlando City's frustrated fanbase, Cyle Larin, and Jason Kreis.
DSS: Orlando City finally got their first win since June last Saturday. How frustrated is the fanbase, and are you still holding out any playoff hopes for this season?
TML: I think there’s a combination. As long as the team is mathematically alive, I think most fans hold out hope, but certainly the team has to win Saturday to realistically stay in the hunt. While the hope is there, that doesn’t mean the expectation is. At this point, it would be a delightful surprise if the Lions went on a run, but it’s not something anyone is betting on.
The frustration Orlando’s fan base has is rooted deeply in the amazing start the club had in March and April. Following that, it’s been a long, slow spiral to the bottom, even though there were opportunities to add points here or there in this miserable summer run that could have kept the team in contention – a post here, a penalty kick against there (or the lack of a call in the opponent’s box that perhaps should have been made in City’s favor), a red card, a last minute goal conceded (or two, in the case of this series)…these are the kinds of things that have made life as an Orlando City fan difficult over the last four months.
DSS: It seems like Cyle Larin has been linked with a move away from Orlando for a while now. Do you expect him to leave after this season?
TML: I believe the move finally will be considered after this season because the club has waited until it could get the best possible percentage of the sale. That said, the offer will need to be what the club is looking for, which is believed to be at least $5 million. The club has balked at lower offers in the past. That said, a higher percentage might make those kinds of offers more enticing. I think I’m probably more 50/50 on Larin than most. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays or leaves, while most expect him to leave.
DSS: I asked you this the last time we spoke, but it seems prevalent now more than ever. Is Jason Kreis in or out?
TML: He’s in, as far as I know. From everyone I’ve talked to, it seems that the club entered this season figuring this was a rebuild year and the quick start kind of caught everyone off guard. The summer transfer window seems to have been a good one for Orlando, and certainly the off-season acquisitions of Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, and Donny Toia were helpful. Giles Barnes started very slowly but has been better of late. The bottom line is most of the additions brought in by Kreis and Niki Budalic have been excellent.
It will require a little more roster churn, and perhaps the replacement of a couple of aging midfielders, but another quality transfer window and the further integration of Yoshimar Yotun and Dom Dwyer could be what’s needed to help the club turn the corner.
All that said, I could be completely wrong and ownership could tear up the entire plan again and start over. Again.