It may seem like just another day as the sun beams down over Brevard County, but the players of Orlando City know there’s more to it. Camp in Melbourne is coming to an end and the boys will be playing their first preseason game against Eastern Florida on Sunday; the excitement and anticipation is palpable in the air.
However, this time around it’s different. At this point last season the Lions were just learning each other’s names, now there are friendships and deep bonds. Instead of waiting to anticipate your teammate’s next move, the one touches are becoming a natural fluid movement. What a difference a season can make and everyone seems to have noticed.
“This is the fastest we’ve ever been this good,” noted returning defender and homegrown player Tommy Redding - and he isn’t the only one who sees this progression.
Head Coach Adrian Heath also made it clear in his comments made early last week. “I’ve been really pleased with the application of the players, really pleased with the fitness levels. I said last week I thought we were two or three weeks in advance of where we were this time last year and I firmly believe that.”
Returning midfielder Adrian Winter, who joined the team in the middle of the 2015 season, is partaking in his first preseason with the team. He also agrees having this time together to build and bond helps the team and each individual player. “I know the team better. I know how they run and how they play.”
A strong preseason will bode well for the team, who started sluggish last year, but pickd up an incredible amount of steam towards the end. With the momentum of a strong preseason the playoffs are in sight for Orlando City.