After just missing out on the playoffs in their first MLS season, Orlando City announced a number of roster moves on Wednesday morning. The Lions declined contract options on goalkeepers Tally Hall and Josh Ford, midfielders Eric Avila and Lewis Neal, and forwards Danny Mwanga, Adam Bedell, and Sidney Rivera. Midfielder Tony Cascio's contract ran out at the end of the season.
As the opening of free agency begins on December 8th, here's a quick look at five players Orlando City should look to add to the squad this offseason.
The 2015-2016 season has been a down year for Messi thus far. He appeared in only nine matches for Barcelona to open the season before going down with a knee injury, and only recently returned to the squad. A switch to Orlando City could revitalize his downward sloping career, although he may struggle to see the pitch behind the sensational 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin.
Cristiano Ronaldo has all of the talent in the world. World class speed, an amazing first touch, and incredible shot power. But he has never been able to truly realize his potential. Playing for Adrian Heath would help Ronaldo put all facets of his game together so he can become one of the best players on the planet.
Known to his legion of fans as simply "Madamombe", the 12 year old Zimbabwean superstar has reportedly turned down offers from Chelsea, Fulham, and Real Madrid because he wants to play for a winning club. Bangojena has been tearing up the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League for Chicken Inn FC, scoring an insane 42 goals over the last two seasons. Scores say that Bangojena has been a huge Orlando City fan since he was a kid, and it is his dream to play for Adrian Heath.
With his incredible ability to juke even the best defenders out of their shoes, his insane shot speed that has been clocked at 120 mph., and what commentators have called "the best vision since Jim Parsons in that one movie", it's only a matter of time before we see Bangojena take the captain's armband from Kaka.
Ever since Flavio Augusto da Silva came on board as majority owner of Orlando City Soccer Club, the Lions have set their sights on being one of not only the top clubs in MLS but in the world. If they wish to achieve that dream, OCSC should be signing the best players in the world. And Pele is one of the best of all time.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, is thought by many to be the best player to ever step on a soccer pitch. And they'd get no argument from me. His 541 career league goals make him the most successful scorer in any league in the world. Throughout of all history. Let that sink in for a minute. And his 1,281 goals in 1,363 games in all competitions are a Guinness World Record. To put it simply, Pele was a god among men on the soccer field.
Signing Pele would put Orlando City on the soccer map just as it did for the New York Cosmos in the 1970's. If the Lions have any hopes of fulfilling their dreams, Pele should be one of the first names they call this offseason.
Buddy, the Golden Retriever from the Air Bud Movies
One of the world's greatest multiple sport athletes, Buddy has excelled in everything from basketball to baseball to football and volleyball. But perhaps his best sport is soccer. By my calculations he scored 67 goals in his historic season where he lead his team to the state title. Anyone who has any doubts about Buddy should just watch the incredible documentary about his career, "Air Bud: World Pup". Buddy also has contract that should be very favorable to the club. According to his agent, Buddy is looking for two bags of Kibbles and Bits per week with a one bone per goals scored bonus but is willing to negotiate.