The mass offseason overhaul at Orlando City was a needed process to help the club expand on an excellent 2022 season. That transfer activity has earned high praise from throughout the Major League Soccer world.
"It’s been a very busy offseason for Orlando, but one that has mostly flown under the radar. And it’s left them with a very deep squad and few areas of need," MLSSoccer.com's Matt Doyle said in a recent column. "this feels a lot like a side that’s going to 1) play more entertaining soccer this year than the past two, and 2) win a bunch more."
These sentiments are pretty common throughout the national MLS punditry, and that's a unique space for Orlando City to occupy.
At no other point in the club's MLS history has the outside hype been quite this loud. Never have national media types been so effusive in their praise of Orlando's offseason business. This new hype leads to higher expectations and external pressures than ever.
The new spending from the Wilf regime already heightened expectations, but now people outside of the Orlando City bubble are expecting big things as well. Those goals are perfectly rational given what the club has to work with.
Every element of Orlando's current club construction points to a very serious contender. All six Designated Player and U22 spots are filled with players who've showed real promise either in MLS or a league of similar quality. All six of those players are also in prime ages to contribute to a winning roster right now.
The team is deep at every position with a healthy mix of promising young players, MLS veterans and overseas imports. Head coach Oscar Pareja is one of the most proven coaches in the league, and the front office led by general manager Luiz Muzzi is equally if not more respected across MLS.
Rarely does national hype and hope fall on Orlando City, but the transfer dealings and roster construction have been too enticing for pundits and fans to ignore. Now it's time for Pareja's team to deliver on that promise.
Follow Christopher Adams on Twitter @Topher_Adams