Throughout the MLS season, I'm going to be adding a new, league-wide update with a quick notebook of major stories from the past weekend and beyond. This is an Orlando City website, but every Wednesday, we're widening our view to the whole of the league.
Mexican star Hector Herrera to sign with the Houston Dynamo
You thought the craziest offseason in MLS history was over? The Houston Dynamo, led by new owner Ted Segal, further flexed their new financial muscle, reportedly signing Mexican international midfielder Hector Herrera. Houston's new star will arrive in MLS this summer after finishing the year with his current club Atletico Madrid.
Herrera has spent the last nine seasons in Europe, becoming the captain with Portuguese giants FC Porto before spending the last few years as a rotation piece in Madrid. Herrera has almost 100 appearances with the Mexican national team and is among the very best players in all of Concacaf. He is the latest El Tri star to ply his trade stateside, following in the footsteps of Chicharito and Carlos Vela. Herrera is also the biggest signing in Dynamo history and gives that fanbase a much needed boost, as well as providing a world class player to bolster midfield.
Atlanta United's Luiz Araujo out four weeks with hamstring injury
It was almost a dream season opener for Araujo, scoring a delightful chip against Sporting Kansas City in the first half, but immediately after the goal, the Brazilian was seen in pain grabbing at his hamstring. He tried to keep going, but eventually went down in a heap and needing to be substituted off.
The news has come out now that the gifted winger will miss about four weeks with his hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries can be fickle and difficult to fully heal from, though, and this is a situation worth monitoring. Orlando doesn't play Atlanta till way later in the season, so he'll likely face the Lions, barring another injury at some point.
Carlos Vela headlines MLS Team of the Week; Antonio Carlos also awarded
The opening weekend of MLS was dominated by arguably its biggest star: Carlos Vela. The Mexican returned to his 2019 self on Saturday, scoring a hat trick against the Colorado Rapids. The former Arsenal prospect was an unstoppable force and promptly received the MLS Player of the Week award and a spot on the MLS Team of the Week. His contract expires in June, but reports say LAFC are working on an extension. Vela and LAFC are scheduled to visit Orlando City on April 2.
Orlando City also had a representative on the MLS Team of the Week as well, with center back Antonio Carlos getting the nod. Despite missing almost all of preseason, the Brazilian was excellent on Sunday, completing over 90% of his passes, showing good skill on the ball, dominating in the air and helping secure a shutout. A great start to the season for a player with Best XI potential.