The coach doesn’t pick the team – the players do.
It’s an old adage Orlando City coach Adrian Heath learned from a former coach during his playing days that he always cites when asked about the starting lineup. It simply means that it’s up to the players to prove they deserve to be in the XI – something that Servando Carrasco does consistently.
“He comes in every day, trains at his maximum and actually, he forces your hand,” Heath said.
Since joining the team last summer, Carrasco has been a rock for the Lions. His superb start to 2016 has given Heath no option but to play him. He’s featured in all but one game this season and has started and played a full 90 in the last four.
He doesn’t have the cannon of a shot or offensive creativity of Darwin Cerén, nor does he physically dominate opponents like Cristian Higuita. But Carrasco has managed the perfect balance of physicality and discipline with good defensive positioning, setting himself apart as perhaps the best pure defender at the deepest position on the roster.
“I think he’s done smashing,” Heath said. “Every day in training he makes the maximum out of every single day so when he gets in the team, he’s prepared physically, mentally, so I’m not surprised that he’s come in and done well.”
Darwin Cerén feeling better
It’s been three weeks since Lions midfielder Darwin Cerén suffered an ankle injury against Sporting Kansas City. The Salvadorian said he’s feeling better, but is still not ready to return to the pitch.
Prior to his injury, Cerén had started and played at least 80 minutes in every match for which he was available for selection this season. Cerén has one assist in nine matches.
“We’ll probably have a better idea in the next three or four days,” Heath said.
Right back Rafael Ramos was doing sprints separate from the team during training today, indicating that he’s nearing his return from a slight hamstring pull suffered on May 21 against Montreal.
The speedy Portuguese defender has been a fixture for the Lions dating back to their USL days. Ramos has two assists in 10 appearances – all starts – this season.
“A lot better,” Heath said when asked about Ramos. “I would think that by the end of this week he’ll be at 100%.”