ORLANDO, Fla. — As the Lions near their season opener, Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão is feeling more confident than before any other season.
But he said the club won’t be passive in the final weeks of the offseason, suggesting executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi and coach Óscar Pareja can still alter the roster.
“I really loved the moves that Luiz and Óscar and his team made in the offseason and we’re not done yet,” Leitão said. “Everybody knows that. They still have a spot and I’m pretty sure they’re working hard on that spot.”
After a major overhaul in the offseason — which included declining options on 10 players’ contracts — Muzzi and Pareja have filled 29 of the team’s 30 available roster positions.
Neither has confirmed whether the team expects to get a final signing over the line before the season opener. But while Leitão is eager to see the Lions add that final player, he also voiced confidence in the current team, which features a slew of new additions including midfielder Júnior Urso and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
“I feel like we have a strong group of players,” Leitão said. ”
The CEO’s confidence in both the roster and its new coaching staff has offered a different sense of calm when entering the 2020 season. He describes this year as a culmination of years of work on a variety of different projects for the club.
From the opening of the new training facility to the hiring of Pareja, Leitão said he believes this year will be the turning point for the club after a frustrating first five seasons.
“I know the fans, they don’t care about [excuses] and they want to do it and they want to do it now,” Leitão said. “I know exactly the feeling and sometimes I got frustrated as well. But it’s a process and we had to do it in the right way. Now we’re finally in a position that we have everything in place right. Right now is the moment that I can sit down and say, ‘This looks great.'”