If the rumors, and the obvious photo of Nani at Orlando International Airport, are true, then Orlando City are on the verge of signing the talented Portuguese winger, Nani. Nani is perhaps the creative attacking talent that OCSC need. Prior to his inevitable move to the Lions, Nani was plying his trade at Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Premeira Liga. His current record of 18 matches with 7 goals and 4 assists is respectable for a player that is no longer in his prime. However prior to this season’s move, he experienced a few unsuccessful spells at Lazio and Valencia. Regardless, Nani undoubtably possesses the quality to add a much needed boost to the Orlando City side
James O’Connor implemented a 4-4-2 formation in the preseason match against NYCFC. During the course of the previous year, O’Connor would use formations from 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, and 3-4-3 as an attempt to remedy a struggling Orlando side. Nani has been playing out on the wing during the current season with Sporting Lisbon. He was also placed as a striker paired with Ronaldo while playing for Portugal in the 2016 Euro competition, where Portugal won their first major international competition. Nani’s on the ball quality could wreak havoc for opposing defenders even though he may lack the pace he once possessed. He has also exhibited his ability to finish and seek out passing opportunities, which Orlando desperately lacked once opposing teams isolated Dom Dwyer. Nani should be able to garner more defensive notice and be able to provide more goal scoring chances for Dwyer and Mueller. If O’Connor decides to play Nani in a more central position, he could pair nicely with Dwyer. Both have the ability to get in behind defenders on a counter attack, and Nani can come deeper to pick up the ball and aggressively push it forward.
The Nani acquisition will be a crucial move by upper management. He is the first high profile international signing since Kaka in 2015. It will increase excitement in the fan base and will add flair and quality to Orlando’s attack. His international experience is not something to be discounted as well. He has played alongside talents such as Ronaldo, Rooney, and Robin Van Persie. He will be able to take on a leadership role for the squad and take over games in the last few minutes. Either way, Orlando City’s signing of Nani on a free from Sporting Lisbon is a shrewd stroke of genius. The management at Orlando City will have been able to fill numerous holes both on the field and off it with just one signing. This is not to say that OCSC will be challenging to win the MLS Cup this season, but instead it brings them one step closer and creates excitement to a season filled with question marks for the Orlando City faithful.