ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Orlando City’s players and front office staff held a Media Day press conference on Monday to usher in the new season. OCSC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi opened the table for media questions as Head Coach Oscar Pareja chimed in and answered several questions regarding Orlando City’s current form, offseason signings as well as Orlando Academy inquisitions.
“A Phenomenal Step”
With a stop-and-go offseason that saw many protagonists of Orlando City’s offense leave (Dike, Nani, Mueller). It was only a matter of time before Pareja and his staff pulled together some signings to bolster the squad. In that time, Orlando City has successfully landed Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara, and Cesar Araujo to fill in the gaps. It seems like there are two schools of thought in relation to transfer signings this offseason for the MLS. While some teams opt for the proven veteran talent (Chicago Fire, Toronto FC), other squads like Atlanta and Orlando City have doubled down on youthful impact signings with players that possess that ‘win now’ mentality.
No better player embodies that drive to win and hunger for success than Facundo Torres. Torres comes to Orlando with years worth of experience in the spotlight. Donning the number 10 for his boyhood club Peñarol last season in high-profile games in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, Torres had his most brilliant moments on the biggest stages. At 21, Facundo Torres has the world at his fingertips, and assimilating him into the first team has already gone splendid — according to him:
“It was something that worried me [integrating into a new group], but – to be honest, this group has been extraordinary. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’ve been accepted as just another one of the team since the first day. I already knew Cesar since he came from Uruguay, I also spoke to Mauricio a bit before landing. Both of them I knew for a while, but when I landed I met with Pedro, Seba [Mendez], Andres [Perea] and Rodri [Schlegel].”
Torres had nothing but positives to say about his integration into the team. A factor that was put into place expertly by Head Coach Oscar Pareja as he has worked meticulously to piece together an Orlando City side teeming with first-team International level players. Gallese with Peru, Mendez with Ecuador, and now Torres as a member of Uruguay. Orlando City’s many South American talents have helped Torres’ assimilation while also keeping the level of competition at practice at an all-time high.
Moreover, the city of Orlando has come out in droves to support the rising Uruguayan star. Just last week, former Orlando City legend Ricardo Kaka sent a message of support to Facundo Torres in hopes of galvanizing his footballing endeavors in 2022. The city of Orlando as well as the players and staff have taken to this new era with the best intentions. Given the right amount of time, Torres as well as the other newly adjusted signings at Orlando will make their presence felt this year.
When asked about the process of building a new team around young stars, Oscar Pareja noted that Orlando City has taken ‘a phenomenal step’ in the right direction by taking the time to group players with the characteristics that fit the mold of the team. Pareja noted that every piece of the puzzle has to do its part in order to reach the collective goal, which seems to be MLS Cup or bust. One thing is for sure, this Orlando City team is more pumped than ever to achieve their goals after a less than stellar 2021 regular season.
Nicolas Vera is a sports and entertainment reporter for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org