Ercan Kara is Orlando City's man. It's never easy replacing a star, and the boots of Daryl Dike are not small ones to fill. But in Kara, Orlando has a line-leading goal-dangerous striker it needs to be a real contender once again.
Before delving into what I expect from Kara, I need to clarify something important; this is not an indictment on Daryl Dike. I don't want to compare the two and I don't want to say one is better than the other or will make Orlando better. I want it to be understood that this is nothing but hope for Kara and what I think Orlando City can do with him in 2022.
Got that out of the way? Good, because this signing is incredibly exciting.
Every team needs to have a good striker to win a trophy in MLS. I argue all the time about the many ways to win in this league, but an undeniable truth is that you need a great #9. Taty Castellanos, Josef Martinez, Raul Ruidiaz and even Gyasi Zardes are all great MLS strikers and they all led their teams to MLS Cup success recently. If you don't have a reliable striker who can consistently get goals and consistently be a factor in the final third, you won't win trophies.
And that's what Kara provides for Orlando City. Everything about Kara's profile suggests a player who can be the high-level center forward the Lions crave. The Austrian Bundesliga is not the highest-level competition in the world, but it is incredibly similar to Major League Soccer both in terms of quality and style. While there haven't been a ton of transfers from Austria in MLS making it difficult to judge how directly the leagues translate, I feel comfortable saying Kara can translate fairly easily over here.
Kara is a perfect fit for an Orlando City striker. Everything he does well is what Orlando was missing heading into the season. He's a high level finisher, holds up the ball, combines with others and is dominant in the air. After the sale of Dike, nobody could adequately do all of those jobs and Kara excels in all areas. Especially given the wide service Orlando will provide with Silvester van der Water, Facundo Torres, Ruan and Joao Moutinho, Kara is the perfect striker stylistically for Orlando.
Orlando are not the most complete roster in all of MLS, but its a well built squad and with the infusion of Kara and Torres, the top end talent should be there to compete for silverware. It always takes time for players to settle in this league, but from what I've seen from Kara and how he'll fit in the team, this could be a slam dunk of a signing.