You know what's really fun as a soccer fan? Watching your team's new multi-million dollar striker play soccer.
We are three games into Ercan Kara's tenure as a member of Orlando City Soccer Club, and I cannot wait to see more of the big Austrian target man. He very nearly opened his MLS account against FC Cincinnati, but was robbed by a monster performance from known Orlando City killer Alec Kann.
After what was nearly a dream debut, I cannot wait to see more of Kara, but I can acknowledge the early returns are very mediocre.
Kara has only played 128 minutes and has one shot and 28 total touches. However, I do not care what his numbers are over the course of just 128 minutes coming off of a preseason ankle injury. I want to see what he can do across a five plus game stretch in the starting lineup.
His physical profile is so different from the other forwards on the current roster, and if he can get service, he'll finish in front of goal. Kara won't create for himself the way Daryl Dike could, but if the likes of Facundo Torres and Mauricio Pererya are cooking up service into the box, Kara can score at an elite clip.
Beyond his finishing ability in the box, Kara's defensive work excites me. He presses well and works fairly hard. He's not the best defensive forward in the league by any means, but he's a very functional pressing striker. That's an element that Orlando City needs to be using more often. Against CF Montreal, Orlando pressed the Canadians out of the game over a 15-minutes span in the second half. We haven't seen the Lions press that aggressively in the two weeks since, and that's a shame.
With a forward like Kara leading the line, Orlando has the ability to press harder in moments. They'll never be the Red Bulls or DC United with a hyper-aggressive press, but the Lions could certainly press harder than they currently do.
This was the most fun offseason in Orlando City history, and now we're starting to see the fruits of those big money investments play out on the field. Facundo Torres is off the mark running, and now it's time to see if Ercan Kara can do the same. Regardless of what happens over the next few months of games, I'll be locked in every time Orlando's No. 9 is on the field.