Orlando City SC’s second season in MLS seems destined to be an immense improvement upon the club’s 2015 expansion campaign (the Lions finished 7th in the Eastern Conference and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs), if retaining the core of last year’s team and making a shrewd, cohesive offseason signing or two are anything to go on.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
Having kept the likes of Kaka, Cyle Larin, Brek Shea, Darwin Ceren and Cristian Higuita around for a second season; welcomed back Kevin Molino from a season-ending injury (knee); and addressed the situation in goal (Joe Bendik), Orlando City were already a markedly improved side ahead of the 2016 season.
Then they went and signed former Juventus, AC Milan and Italian national teamer Antonio Nocerino to bolster an already-loaded midfield unit, as was announced by the club on Thursday.
Perhaps more notably, though, Orlando’s acquisition of the 30-year-old midfielder from
AC Milan D.C. United concludes an ongoing saga that essentially amounted to the two MLS sides arguing over who called dibs — “discovered,” to use MLS terminology — on the player first, as part of the league’s over-meddlesome player acquisition mechanisms.
United held Nocerino’s MLS “rights” through to the league’s discovery process, despite the fact the player had 1) never before played in the league, and 2) actually preferred to sign for Orlando rather than United. If this sounds at all familiar, it’s the same thing that happened when Didier Drogba landed with the Montreal Impact last season, despite the Chicago Fire holding his pre-arrival MLS rights.
In this instance, United received both general allocation money and targeted allocation money in exchange for Nocerino’s MLS rights. With a satisfactory deal now agreed, United will not file an official tampering charge against Orlando, as they had previously considered, according to the Washington Post.
Yay, complicated MLS rules that take way too many words to explain and are often times difficult to remember in full.