Ercan Kara, Orlando City's new Designated Player striker, was injured Saturday in a preseason friendly against FC Dallas at Osceola Heritage Park. According to the Orlando Sentinel's Austin David, Kara was taken down by a Dallas defender and was holding his knee on the ground. Footage from the Orlando Lions Den podcast, Kara was gingerly walking, not putting pressure on his left leg, and had to be taken away on a golf cart.
The club is notoriously stingy with injury information, meaning we haven't heard anything yet, and likely won't hear any specifics (if we do I'll update this post), but the images were not encouraging. Given the way he went down and was seen walking gingerly, many are speculating this could be a potentially season-ending (or at least mostly season-ending) ligament injury. It's dangerous to speculate entirely, we're not doctors, we don't know specifics, but this could be a devastating blow to Orlando City already.
If Kara misses a lot of time this season, Orlando's striker room is suddenly in a very precarious position. Without Kara, Orlando only has Tesho Akindele and Alexandre Pato, plus maybe draft pick Jack Lynn. Based on Pato's own injury history, who knows if he'll be able to contribute for a while, and we already know what Orlando looks like with Tesho as the only 9 available. Without Daryl Dike last season, it was the Tesho show, and Orlando was nowhere near as effective offensively. The lack of an elite goalscoring, line-leading center forward drastically lowers this team's ceiling.
Without Kara, Orlando won't be able to score goals, at least not at the rate they would've with him. This also puts even more pressure on Facundo Torres to be a superstar from the jump, and extra onus on Benji Michel to continue his development.
Whatever happens, this really sucks. Kara is a really talented player who was just getting settled in Orlando, and things have already hit a potentially major setback. As a fan, this is heartbreaking. As a person, this is heartbreaking, because serious injuries are miserable. Let's pray Kara is better than initial reactions fear, and whatever happens, he'll be back on the field soon.