Two days into training, center back Amro Tarek is aiming to make an instant impact for Orlando City during the 2018 Major League Soccer season.
Tarek, 25, was acquired by the Lions on a one-year loan from Egyptian side Wadi Delga FC. His move, though, comes at a pivotal moment, with Orlando City having only two center backs prior to his arrival in Jonathan Spector and José Aja.
“My personal goals are to be an important [player] in the team. … To be a starter and to make the team for my national team to play in the World Cup,” Tarek said Wednesday.
Before arriving to Orlando, Tarek said he spoke with Lions coach Jason Kreis via Skype about the team’s goals this season while also touching on what role he’ll play this year for Orlando.
“We need to defend good this season as a team, not just the four-man back line,” Tarek said. “We need to reach the playoffs and play and work like a family because that’s what is most important.”
The defender trained alongside potential center back partner Jonathan Spector on Wednesday during a team scrimmage. Tarek said he hopes to build a strong bond with the team’s other defenders.
“He’s a really fantastic player,” Tarek said of Spector. “He has experience playing in Europe, so I’m looking to forward to seeing how it goes with him and the other defenders so we can arm a good defense.”
The 2018 season will mark Tarek’s return to MLS, where he spent three months with the Columbus Crew in 2016. He played for the Crew while on loan from Spanish side Real Betis.
Powers ready to compete
Orlando City’s offseason roster moves have created competition for minutes in a stacked midfield.
Dillon Powers, who re-signed with Orlando in December for one more year, hopes to make the most of the preseason and move up the depth chart crowded with talented midfielders.
“It’s very competitive. You can spin that as being tough for a midfielder, but it’s great because at the same time I have to show up,” Powers said. “I have to compete or else I’m going to get left behind. So, it really forces me to raise my level, forces everyone to raise their level.”
Powers, who was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2013, said this is, by far, the most competitive preseason he’s been a part of in MLS.
“This might be the deepest midfield I’ve been a part of,” said Powers. “It’s exciting, it’s great to be around this quality every day because I feel like my level is going up every day.
“Right now, I’m focused on competing every day. I don’t like to set external goals too much, it’s more about the process and showing up every day. Seeing if I can play with confidence and contribute to this team in any way I can. And usually when I can, I’m serving myself on the team.”