It’s been a few weeks — because it seems like the offseason lasts only a few weeks — since we’ve chatted up Major League Soccer. Training camps opened on my birthday, but I was too busy drinking wood grain alcohol and drowning in a pool of my own bitter tears to write then.
Speaking of bitter tears, let’s get to marginally disappointing Orlando City. In my opinion, if the Lions play their cards right, they will win yesterday’s trade that sent attacking midfielder Kevin Molino and a reserve goalkeeper you won’t remember to expansion Minnesota United.
Oh sure, former Orlando coach Adrian Heath needs experienced attack-minded players such as Molino. Heath has tended to coach with an offense-first mentality. Local fans loved the cherubic little dude for his unkempt shirt and how the blood pressure turned his face a near lobster red. They loved it because clearly, it showed Heath had passion.
Here’s the flaw: Passion diminishes intellect. Passion makes you overvalue people you like. An over-reliance on passion is a horrible trait in a coach or front office.
Minnesota gave up about $650,000 worth of salary cap relief for Molino, who probably wasn’t even the third-best player on the Orlando roster. The amount of help Heath just gave his former employers is a league record. Now, in the major team leagues across America, $650,000 isn’t a lot of money. In MLS, it’s really helpful.
We know a lot about Heath and passion-driven contracts. Orlando City SC made a splash before playing a single game by signing Brazilian superstar midfielder Kaka, who was the last player not named Messi to be regarded as the best player on the planet. Orlando City overpayed. The Lions have yet to reach MLS playoffs.
It bears repeating: Heath signed one of the best players on the entire planet and it still wasn’t enough to get a team to the playoffs in a league that is inferior to most of Europe, South America and possibly Asia.
You could also suggest the Heath-driven additions last season of Antonio Nocerino and Christian Higuita didn’t help, either.
Orlando City, under Heath, gambled on offense and gave up far too many reckless counterattacks. The Lions last year were third-worst in both goals conceded and yellow cards allowed. It’s a good idea to bring discipline to a team like that. It was s good idea to replace Heath with Jason Kreis.
Moreover, if the Lions use that cap relief and upgrade their defense, they win that trade.
Because they have enough offense-first players.
What the Lions need is some common sense to balance it out.