Updates since Original Posting
- A new version of the starting lineup is now available form Derek with the departure of Aja
- Defender Jose Aja traded to Vancouver Whitecaps.
2017 Orlando City SC Review
2017 started off really great! It looked like is was going to be our year… until it wasn’t. OCSC started off winning 6 of its first 7, mostly without Kaka, then won 4 games the rest of the season. The season’s hope was pretty much over by the back to back Atlanta United games. Mid-season DP signing Yoshi Yotun and the Dom Dwyer trade tried to bring back some electricity, but not enough to finish higher than a paltry 10th with 39pts.
Forwards: Stefano Pinho,Chris Mueller
With Cyle Larin literally pulling a Fabian Castillo and taking a physical with Besiktas while under OC contract, he’s good as gone. Stefano Pinho scored a hat trick against OCSC in Open Cup and Chris Mueller was the 6th pick in the 2018 MLS Superdraft. Neither seem to be quality fantasy options, but you never know if something would happen to the starters. Reminder that Larin was not supposed to play in 2015 at all and then scored 17 goals.
Midfielders: Sacha Kljestan,Josue Colman,Cam Lindley,Jose Villarreal,Justin Meram
Saying Orlando’s midfield needed an overhaul is a bit of an understatement. Since then, Orlando has done some massive business with the signing of Josue Colman and tradedfor Sacha Kljestan, Cam Lindley, Jose Villarreal, and Justin Meram. All it cost was Carlos Rivas,Tommy Redding, Rafael Ramos, a 2019 international spot, and just over $2 million in allocation money. Add this in to a midfield that signed Yotun last year and already has Will Johnson and Cristian Higuita and Orlando may finally be in business here.
Defenders: Mohamed El Monir,RJ Allen:
Mohamed El Monir was signed from Partizan Belgrade and is likely to challenge Donny Toia for the starting left back spot. However, he’s been delayed due to visa issues. That is one to look forward to since he will likely not have a high price. RJ Allen is likely to slot behind right back Scott Sutter in the rotation and provide reliable depth, but not a fantasy option
Goalkeeper: Adam Grinwis
Orlando signed new keeper Adam Grinwis, but he’s not a fantasy option.
Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture
Forwards: Justin Meram a quite consistent,less than premium priced, and reliable MLS Fantasy midfielder pretty much since he came into MLS with Columbus. I see no reason this should change with Orlando, as the 29 year old would slot into the left side in either the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Dom Dwyer is a reliable double digit goal scorer in MLS who just loves to let shots go. Playing in front of Sacha Kljestan usually means you’ll get goalscoring opportunities, I expect Dwyer to be in the 14-20 goal range and around 180-190 fantasy pts in 2018.I like the 4-2-3-1 more with Dwyer since he didn’t really seem comfortable in Peter Vermes’ 4-3-3 with SKC last season. Josue Colman is a 19 year old kid from Paraguay, but he’s also a DP,so the potential for a high scoring fantasy season is there, but he also was not a huge goal scorer in Paraguay. I’m going to go on the conservative side and say around 150-160pts with salary relief potential on weeks you need it in good matchups. An aggressive estimate would have been 190-200pts
Midfielders: Sacha Kljestan has over 200pts in all 3 seasons since his return to MLS. I see no reason for this to change, we are looking at 15+ assists and 5-8 goals. I’ll say Kljestan finishes at 205 and is a fairly great midfield option as always. Yoshi Yotun was listed as a defender last year, the most expensive one, but if he is around the $8-$9 range, then he is a steal. Equally as creative as Kljestan by the stats, bonus points galore and I believe he can reach 190-200pts. Has Will Johnson ever been a fantasy option?
Defenders: We haven’t had the opportunity to see Mohamed El-Monir play, but the fullbacks in Kreis’ system have opportunities to get the field and may get a few assists. 110-130pts if starting. Jose Aja was fairly good for the first half of 2017… then the 3-3 draw v Montreal and June came around and he had his worst game in OC colors.Never regained the confidence after that, definitely has his faults, but I would like the first half Aja. Only a fantasy option in a top matchup. The ever reliable Jonathan Spector. Even though OCSC let in a ton of goals last year, Spector definitely brought a confidence presence and quality play to Orlando. After his injury, any hope of a 6 seed run was lost. Decent fantasy option, top 20 defender status 4-5ppg likely. Scott Sutter is basically a carbon copy of El Monir.
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik has,unfortunately, been an MLS saves leader the past two years. While good for your fantasy team, that’s not something I want to see consistently. Bendik will be a fantasy option as a lesser priced alternative to your premium keepers.
I honestly cannot go real in depth into tactics, but let’s give it a shot. Kreis loves his 4-4-2 diamond until the very end, no matter how many MLS wingers destroy us, we play it! Hopefully this team decides to play to its strengths this year, which is short, intricate passing in the midfield. Matt Doyle said it best, that the team is best when playing short passes and making runs, so of course Orlando led the league in long balls. What I do know very well is fantasy values of the players and what I’d expect from them in the 2018 season.
Although these signings and trades hint to more of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll write as a 4-3-3, but post possible lineups for both. This team, unlike last 3 years, now has a dearth of talent where we do not have to rely on 1 player, but in my opinion, it all goes through Sacha Kljestan.
2018 Expectations and Closing Fantasy Thoughts
Nik Budalic expects playoffs, Alex Leitao expects playoffs, Jason Kreis expects playoffs, all of Orlando expects playoffs. To put it in short, I expect a team that competes, that excites and most importantly plays into November.
Orlando will have multiple fantasy options I would love to take advantage of, seeing as I believe they will not be that expensive. Overall value should have Orlando players in the top 10 most used fantasy players. Since there are more than 3, I’ll leave you with the 3 key options for me to you
You know what you’re getting in Kljestan and Meram fantasy wise.
Yoshi Yotun: If he’s a defender, you have a defender playing out of position in the midfield making plays. If he were eligible, he would have led MLS in key passes, in front of now teammate Sacha Kljestan. He’d be worth the $8.0 pricetag to get a 6th mid in with CS bonus possibility. As a midfielder, he’d be a lesser priced option. I expect his price at less than $10.0
Josue Colman: The 19 year old has creativity ingrained in him and all around him in this Orlando side. No pressure to be the #1 creator should free up Colman to rack up the points for your fantasy team, 10 goals/10 assists hopefully, although he isn’t much of a scorer. If he is over $9.0, I’d be shocked.
Scott Sutter: Crosses and crosses galore. More clean sheets will make his likely $4.5-$5 price point a steal.