Orlando City signed two high-priced attackers from Argentina this transfer window and added two more attacking pieces through the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. These moves were made with one extremely simple goal in mind: score more goals.
Offense was a major issue for the Lions last season. Orlando scored the fifth fewest goals in the league and the fewest goals by any playoff team last season. The Lions also generated the fourth fewest expected goals and third fewest shots on target per 90 minutes.
Orlando rated as one of the worst all-around offensive teams by any statistical metric or analytical breakdown last season. With several new faces in the fold, that could all change.
Any hope of an offensive explosion this season rests on the shoulders of the Designated Players. Orlando has three moderately priced attackers headlining the roster, and those three have to carry a heavy load in the final third.
Star winger Facundo Torres set a club-record for combined goals and assists last season, and he could be even better this year. Striker Ercan Kara scored double-digit goals in his first MLS season. New DP winger Martín Ojeda was one of the very best offensive engines in all of Argentina last season.
That front line has the talent to carry an elite MLS offense. But Orlando didn't stop a potentially prolific front three, it built real depth behind it.
Orlando singed a pair of U22 attackers from Argentina in the last two seasons. Winger Gaston González was brought in last season, but the young forward missed the entire year with a knee injury. Striker Ramiro Enrique was signed this week to provide ample cover at center forward or one of the wings.
Both players possess immense potential to be impact players in MLS. González showed incredible pace and final third ability before his injury. Enrique is a skilled dribbler who can operate in tight spaces and shows real tenacity in the final third. Both players would be starters on most teams in the league, but instead will serve key rotational roles for Orlando.
Beyond the big money signings, the Lions have a trio of recent SuperDraft picks to provide additional cover. Winger Shakur Mohammed was taken with the second overall pick and showed promising goal scoring potential and offensive skill at Duke.
Striker Duncan Mcguire won the MAC Hermann trophy given to the best player in college soccer and led the NCAA in goals this past season. Striker Jack Lynn, drafted in the first round last year, was one of the top scorers in MLS NEXT Pro in 2022.
The offensive personnel on paper is enough to make fans eager with anticiaption. Now it's up to head coach Oscar Pareja to craft a system that allows all of these talented pieces to work together and terrorize oppostion backlines.
Orlando's tactics last season did no favors to its attacking exploits. The Lions often played a conservative, defense oriented approach. Much of the attack relied on overlapping fullbacks or moments of individual brilliance from Torres or captain Mauricio Pereyra.
At times under Pareja, Orlando has played beautiful possession based soccer. Orlando needs to rediscover that form from the MLS is Back tournament and the early Pareja era to maximize all of the offensive talent.
Follow Christopher Adams on Twitter @Topher_Adams