Our All Time Combined Orlando City & Orlando Pride All-Star Squad
Updated: Jul 16
I don't know whether my lockdown induced boredom brought this on or not, who knows? Maybe I'm just an inspired genius? OK that seems unlikely. Very unlikely. Anyway, I began to think of an all-time Orlando City squad as well as an all-time Pride squad. And then it struck me. 'Why don't you do a combined squad Dan?' I thought it was a marvelous idea, revolutionary even. Could it maybe change the way we view soccer? Could it change the game in such a profound way that fans would scream about it from the rooftops, and dance merrily in the streets and rejoice? Yeah, you're right. Probably not. I thought it was a cool idea anyway.
So this squad combines players from both Orlando City and the Pride. Inclusions are based on a number of different factors, and not just their form for our clubs. I have factored in individual and team accolades, performances on the international stage and stardom level. These picks are purely judged on these categories alone. That being said, let's hop to it and start moving down the picks...
Now on the face of it, and without any context a goal keeper with only 2 appearances to his name might be a very strange inclusion for an all-time greatest squad. Especially when you consider the memories the likes of Joe Bendik and Miguel Gallardo have given Orlando City fans over the club's short history. That being said, in terms of accomplishment and talent none come close to the unflappable Peruvian. The 30 year old has shone on the international stage for his country. He notably helped Los Incas to a third place finish at the 2015 Copa América, before going one better in 2019. He was also a key component in the side that impressed so much during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Gallese is an excellent stopper, and one who has the potential to go and establish himself as one of the top keepers in Major League Soccer.
At left back...
Before you say anything, yes I know she is out of position. Left back has been in a troublesome position for both City and the Pride, whilst we have more than a few notable candidates for the right back role. But honestly, Ali is that good defensively she would still be a great choice at left-back. The USWNT defender won the hearts of the nation when she sensationally won back her national team berth for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France. Krieger has amassed a whopping 103 caps in the famed red, white and blue and has two World Cup wins to her name. And for the Pride she has clocked up an impressive 56 appearances since joing the team in 2017. She is a future hall of famer and arguably one of the greatest defenders to grace the women's game. She was a shoe in for this squad.
At right centre back...
Spector established himself as solid defender over here in England where he amassed 274 appearances for Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic and West Ham United. He actually began his career at Manchester United where he made 3 senior appearances for the Red Devils (277 total career league appearances in England). It was in Orlando, however, that USMNT defender arguably had his most fruitful years on the field.
At left centre back...
Emily Sonnett is the next one to make the grade. The defender has yet to kick a ball in anger for the Pride, though her reputation precedes her. She has 32 caps for her country and was part of the 2019 World Cup winning side. She has also experienced tremendous success at club level having won the 2017 NWSL Championship in 2017 whilst with the Thorns. She also made the NWSL best XI in both 2018 and 2019. Sonnett is entering her prime years, which can only be a good sign for the team.
At right back...
Truthfully this spot was only ever going to go to one man. Ruan has not only established himself as a cult hero among the Orlando City faithful, but also as one of the most feared outside backs in the league. The Brazilians lightning pace often worries opposition defenders. The 24 year old forced his way in to MLS team of the week on 3 occasions in 2019. And you get the sense there is more to come from our Ruan and only.
At left midfield...
It probably goes without saying that Nani was a shoe-in for this squad. The Portuguese has more winners medals than I've had hot dinners. Over 351 career club appearances Nani has chalked up 76 goals over an illustrious career. The former Manchester United flyer was also a big part of the Portuguese team that won the EUROs in 2016. He amassed a huge 112 caps over his international career and still harbours hopes of making the squad for EURO 2020 (2021 really). His impressive 12-10 in 2019 speaks for itself. Talismanic
At left centre midfield...
The Peruvian was arguably our most talented ball playing midfielders aside from Nani and Kaká. The hugely popular playmaker featured for the team from 2017-2018 and scored 5 goals in 32 games for the Lions. Much like Gallese he has been a key part of the hugely successful Peruvian national team, having totted up 90 caps in his international career. There was a huge outcry when Yoshi left the club for Liga MX, and it's easy to see why. He proved himself a creative, ball playing midfielder in Orlando which led to him being selected for the 2018 All-Star game.
At right centre midfield...
The man needs no introduction, and is a clear inclusion on this list. The Brazilian World Cup winner has won the Ballon D'or, the Champions League and La Liga among others in a trophy laden career for AC Milan, Real Madrid and São Paulo. Some do argue that he could have had more of an impact in Orlando. Despite his 24 goals in 75 appearances, and his plethora of All-Star appearances. Kaká will go down in history as one of the MLS' and the games biggest names.
At right midfield...
Marta Vieira Da Silva is widely seen as being the greatest player the women's game has ever seen. The 5 time FIFA World Player of the Year award winner was onced described as 'Pelé with skirts', by Pelé himself. Which I think was meant as a compliment, even if it does come across just a tad derogatory. But the sentiment is the same. Marta is kind of a big deal. During games at the 2016 Olympics Brazilian fans were often heard chanting 'Marta is better than Neymar'. Says it all really.
The Canadian scored 43 goals in 87 games in Purple. And whilst he left in acrimonious circumstances, he certainly left a huge breach that the Lions have been unable to fill. A DUI towards the end of his time in Orlando certainly brought the club in to disrepute, but his goals have been sorely missed.
Kaylyn was only in Orlando for a short while, 17 appearances. However her 101 caps for her country and her distinguished play in the midfield for Canadian national team earns her a spot on this roster.
The former Arsenal and Real Madrid man had a decent impact in MLS, logging 6 goals in 23 games. The 2004 and 2007 Copa America winner certainly deserves a spot on the bench at least.
Nocerino, no party. Right? The Italian may not have been successful as his former AC Milan compatriot Kaká, but the former Juventus man is hugely successful in his own right.
The USWNT stopper has 7 clean sheets in 18 games for the red, white and blue. She is a World Cup winner, only really kept out of the team's starting XI because of the quality in front of her. Narrowly misses out on a starting berth.
Hero of the 2013 USL Championship Dom Dwyer has been good for Orlando, but not $1.5m good. 24 goals in 65 games, means he loses out to Larin in this roster.
The Swede has been a consistent performer since arriving from AIK. His performances and leadership lead to him recently being called up for a camp with the Swedish national team.
The popular Ecuadorian turned out 65 times for Orlando before leaving for San Jose. A ball playing midfielder, who would provide good depth for this team.
That's it folks, let me know what you think via the usual channels and stay safe out there.