Orlando City is set to sign University of Portland forward Benji Michel to a Homegrown contract, club sources confirmed to Pro Soccer USA.
Michel, 21, is an Orlando native who played at Montverde Academy and for Orlando City’s development academy. He recorded double-digit goals during each of his three seasons at Portland, scoring 10 goals in his freshman and sophomore years and 11 goals in his junior year.
Michel was a 2018 United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American. Across three seasons for Portland, Michel appeared in 53 games with 51 starts. He scored the game-winning goal in Portland’s 1-0 victory over UCLA in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament.
Reports regarding Michel signing with Orlando City surfaced on Friday.
Orlando City needs help in the attack. The Lions scored 43 goals last season, tied for last in the Eastern Conference. Star striker Dom Dwyer scored 13 of those goals.
Toward the end of last season, coach James O’Connor lamented the lack of balance of Orlando City’s roster.
“I’ve got a real understanding of what we want,” O’Connor said at the time. “What we’re going to get in the offseason. For us, every coach is different for how they build out their squad. When I look at it, to have two strikers on a squad of 30 players, I don’t think there’s enough balance there. That’s my opinion.
“Next year, it’ll be different. We’ll be more balanced. But that’s my opinion.”