OCSC

Getty Images

Orlando City sign defender Sane from Werder Bremen

Leave a comment

After making a number of moves to improve its attack this offseason, Orlando City SC is now splashing the cash to improve its backline.

The club announced on Tuesday the signing of veteran centerback Lamine Sane from Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on a permanent deal. It appears that with less than six months left on his contract and Sane not in Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt’s plans, he was allowed to leave on a free transfer.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

“Lamine will significantly strengthen our back line,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “He brings tremendous experience at the highest levels of European football and we believe he will fit right in with what we’re trying to build in Orlando.”

Sane started 27 times for Werder Bremen during a struggling 2016-2017 season, but had made just 11 appearances this season for the Bundesliga side. He’s also made 25 caps for Senegal, but the French-born defender hasn’t appeared for them since 2015. Perhaps a good start to the season in MLS could get him a surprise spot in the World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old joins a rebuilt starting lineup featuring other veterans as Orlando City looks to win in the near term, after three straight seasons of missing the playoffs.

While the team lost Cyle Larin and Kaka in the offseason, Jason Kreis and co. brought in Dom Dwyer late in the 2017 season, Justin Meram, Josue Colman, Uri Rosell and Sacha Kljestan in the offseason.  Along with a couple of new outside backs, Sane is the first signing to shore up the leaky middle of the park for Orlando, one that the club’s fans hope will lead Orlando City to a top-six finish in the Eastern Conference in the least in 2018.

Report: Orlando City, Besiktas finally agree on transfer fee for Larin

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Cyle Larin transfer saga may be finally coming to a close.

According to multiple reports in Turkey, Besiktas will pay Orlando City $2.3 million over the next three years for Larin to join the team before the end of the January transfer window. Larin had been determined to leave MLS for Europe after the end of last season and even though he initially agreed that the club option on his contract was valid, it appears he and his representatives changed their mind, and set up a trial with Besiktas.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Larin was seen earlier this week training with the first team in Turkey.

The former No. 1 selection in the MLS SuperDraft was never able to grow upon his rookie season, when he scored 17 league goals for Orlando City. He scored 14 goals in 2016 and 12 goals in 2017, as Orlando City continued to fail to make the MLS Cup playoffs.

With Kaka now gone, Larin likely saw another rebuilding season ahead and decided to try his luck in Europe. Hopefully he’ll find playing time in Turkey, even though Besiktas just signed another forward – Brazilian veteran Vagner Love.

Orlando City confirms trade with Red Bulls for Kljestan

Getty Images
1 Comment

Orlando City has found its new playmaker.

After reports of a deal on Tuesday, Orlando City confirmed on Wednesday that it has acquired veteran attacking midfielder Sacha Kljestan and $150,000 in target allocation money from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding.

In the press release from OCSC, Kljestan was not referred to as a Designated Player, perhaps hinting that the club used some TAM to pay down his contract.

[READ: LAFC sign Jordan Harvey]

“We are thrilled to bring Sacha to Orlando,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “His ability to see the field and make the final pass will be huge assets for us. But more than that – he’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s gone, and we look forward to that continuing here.”

Kljestan has proved to be the best assist-man in the league since returning to MLS in 2015, recording 51 dimes in 97 matches for the Red Bulls.

It’s a big loss for the Red Bulls as they lose their captain for the second-straight year, and while they bring in Rivas and Redding, both have yet to impress at this level. But at Kljestan’s age of 32, the Red Bulls may have wanted to cash in on the veteran while his value is still high.

Report: Big decision coming for Kaka

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of Major League Soccer’s highest-profile Designated Players could be leaving the league this winter.

In an interview with Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, Orlando City SC star Kaka revealed he’s considering three options this winter: Extend his stay in Orlando, move to Sao Paulo FC, or retire.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

“(When I) finish a game you feel a lot of pain, the body begins to feel, so it’s not so much more pleasure,” Kaka said. “A kid plays today and tomorrow again. I’m 35, it takes longer to recover, it’s another rhythm. You feel the time is coming.”

Kaka has previously said that he would be open to signing a new contract with his current $6.6 million per year deal ending this December. He’s currently one of the highest paid players in MLS. Kaka’s scored six goals and added 4 assists in 22 games, but he’s missed time due to injury and Orlando City has already been eliminated from playoff contention for the third-straight season.

If he does retire, Kaka said he’d like to follow Zinedine Zidane’s example. Take a year off and then get into coaching.

“He paused, took a break, saw even if it was really what he loved, studied, took a course, started on the basis of category,” Kaka said. “I’m more on that side as well. Now, some people think you’re ready.”

Kaka’s signing marked another major notch on MLS’ belt in terms of bringing high-profile stars to the league, but he hasn’t been able to have the impact many in Orlando had hoped for. He’s accumulated 25 goals and 19 assists in 76 games in all competitions, but missing the playoffs three-straight years has been tough for fans to swallow, especially with the first-year success of Atlanta United this year as well as Seattle’s second-half turnaround to the title last year.

It would be fitting for Kaka to finish his career in Sao Paulo, where it all started. But it’s likely that if Kaka becomes a coach, we could see him again in the U.S. earning his way up as Patrick Vieira is doing now.