With the sound of Bob Marley quietly playing in the background and conditioning exercises scribbled on the white board, returning midfielder Kevin Molino steadily balances on his right leg, strengthening and preparing for his much anticipated return. Just two days prior, he was out on the training ground for his first practice since suffering a torn ACL in a 3-2 win over Ponte Preta.
“It feels good to be back out. Being in the gym five, six months is difficult,” said Molino. “I’m finally back out there with the guys and it puts a smile on my face again to be doing something I love best, being on the grass.”
Standing in front of the Orlando City training facility, Molino spoke softly saying that coming to terms with his injury was his biggest hurdle, but now he is much better and taking it one step at a time.
“I feel great…day by day I’m getting better and better and getting accustomed back to training with the guys and just happy to be out there”
Having to watch from the stands for the first time in his professional career, Molino said he did learn new things, gaining a new perspective from watching from the sideline. As a player and being out eight months, he knows he will have to work harder to get back to MLS form. “I get out what I put in,” he noted.
However, Head Coach Adrian Heath reflected on how different Molino is this time around, spending everyday in the gym. “He looks good in his speedos, so he likes the gym now,” Heath joked.
With the team falling just five points short of getting into the playoffs last season, it all coming down to the final week of the regular season, Molino understands all eyes will be on him to be the difference maker. “I owe the city something this year.”