Orlando City SC after Adrian Heath: Four key areas to address



So Adrian Heath is out of the door at Orlando City SC after eight years of loyal, devoted service to the club.

He’s been there since the start and his overall record speaks for itself including two USL Championship triumphs while successfully guiding the Lions through their first Major League Soccer campaign with a respectable, if slightly unlucky, finish.

However, half way through our second season in MLS, it’s all change and with Adrian Heath departing Camping World Stadium with a record of 16 wins, 18 draws and 16 losses, results and performances ultimately haven’t been good enough for the Orlando City SC Front Office.

It’s ultimately a real shame but huge thanks are most definitely in order for Inchy and I’m sure he’ll always be welcomed back with open arms with his exit completed on amicable grounds.

Orlando City SC are now entering the world Heath-less for the very first time though and while some uncertainty in inevitable, the club must overcome some important hurdles in order to kick on and qualify for the end-of-season MLS Cup play-offs this year.

Squad

Based on recent performances and the inconsistency of results, there are some lingering issues in the squad that any new manager will have to solve.

Firstly, re-energise, re-inspire and re-motivate the top earners in the side and try to restore supporter confidence in big name players on our roster.

Brek Shea, David Mateos, and particularly Antonio Nocerino, while all very good footballers, haven’t performed well enough this year, and the new manager needs to make their wages worth paying every week.

If their form turns around, they could become a very good spine of this team again. Excluding Kaká, the Designated Player situation needs addressing as well, whether by board or new manager.

Bryan Róchez‘s situation should be looked into so that his DP status can be better served elsewhere while in turn, making the most out of the current transfer window.

The arrival of a new DP centre back anyone?

There were also some strange substitution calls from Adrian Heath so far this 2016 and that needs addressing if this team is realise their potential for an entire 90 minutes.

Defence

Orlando City SC‘s major pain point this year is quite simply the fact our defence hasn’t performed well enough, Joe Bendik excluded of course.

Whether it’s a back to basics approach, the signing of an experienced leader, or a tactical switch across the team, something must be done.

Draws are killing Orlando City SC this year and if just three results had been converted into victories instead of draws, we’d be sitting pretty nearer top of the Eastern Conference.

Philosophy

Under Adrian Heath, City often dominated possession, played out from the back while creating a lot of chances for Cyle Larin and co up top.

It’s important that a new manager doesn’t adjust this approach too much. Eight years is a long time in football management and these players will be used playing Adrian Heath‘s expansive style.

His passion for the team and city was always evident and the players must channel this same enthusiasm in order to perform well enough in the mid-season and beyond, almost as a thank you for all his hard work.

A new manager will recognise that a enforcing a new playing style will be extremely difficult to implement mid-season and after all, Phil Rawlins has already announced he’s looking for a new coach that will play the Orlando way.

While the team definitely needs to sure up, it shouldn’t surrender the fundamental principles that Inchy taught during his tenure. Subtle tweaks are key.

Front Office

This is where the big decisions will be made in the next few weeks, and the Front Office must get it right.

In my honest opinion, recruiting an experienced MLS manager is the best course of action during an active campaign, especially with the transfer window underway.

So I’d like to see Orlando City SC pursue someone who understands the tight rules and regulations while playing them to the Lions advantage.

Jason Kreis maybe?

He’s probably available if the Lions can pry him from the U.S. Men’s National Team clutches.

Although his New York City FC record was rocky, he knows the league so well and could even find a couple of bargains available for trade, not to mention assessing the current squad while knowing who to move on.

Given time, he produces results. If the Front Office get this decision right, the Orlando City SC fanbase will be fully back onside in no time.

Get it wrong, and removing Adrian Heath could easily become a very big mistake.

Whatever happens, we must do what we’ve always done. Get behind the team no matter what, back the new manager and push this team back to the level it should be at!

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