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Orlando City veterans work to ease transition for new Lions

With so many new faces on Orlando City SC’s roster – more than a dozen have been added with the recent acquisition of Lamine Sané – it’s up to returning players to get the team on the same page.

Versatile midfielder Will Johnson, in his second season with the Lions, said the team is focused on creating a culture of accountability. Part of that is ensuring the newest players are quickly brought up to speed.

“We’ve had a bunch of new guys coming in, so we’ve been showing them the ropes, getting guys situated, trying to make the welcome to Orlando City a little bit better than it’s been in years past,” he said. “Trying to create a welcoming culture and trying to get all the new guys on the same page as us as quickly as possible.”

It’s been a challenge, Johnson said. New players are getting to know their teammates and a new city, and those who have been with the team the longest have done their best to show off Orlando.

“I think when guys in the past have come to this club, it’s been you kind of get taken to the hotel and that’s kind of it,” he said. “You come into training for a few hours, but there’s so much more to moving to a new city than that.

“We’ve scheduled dinners. We try to take guys out, let them know the areas to live for families, for single guys, depending on what you’re looking for. How long you want to commute, all that kind of stuff. We’ve been more informative, getting to know guys better, getting to know each other’s families, that kind of stuff.”

Johnson said some of the guys on the field “didn’t always leave it out there” toward the end of last season. After a strong start, the Lions eventually fell to second-to-last in the Eastern Conference table.

That’s not going to be the case this season, Johnson said. He added this year’s group is informed about how last year’s season went and wants to take steps to get things right.

“We feel the pressure,” he said. “We want to win. I think inside our locker room we have a group of guys who put more pressure on themselves than anybody on the outside looking in does. We understand what it’s about. We understand what it means to represent Orlando City and we want to win.”

Sané officially introduced

New center back Lamine Sané wasted no time getting to know his new teammates.

Sané was at Orlando City’s Tuesday training session, hours after his transfer from Bundesliga side SV Weder Breman was officially announced by the club. ProSoccerUSA.com on Sunday first reported the Lions were in the process of acquiring Sané.

He’ll wear No. 22 for the Lions.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said. “It’s a nice city, nice club. I’m excited to play.”

He added, “I think have a little bit more experience in defense and I can give my experience for the team.”

Orlando City coach Jason Kreis said the 6-foot-3 French Senegalese center back brings a wealth of experience and a solid skill set. He added it’ll take some time to get Sané acclimated in terms of fitness.

“One of our main objectives in the offseason was to find a top level center back or two top level center backs, at the least,” Kreis said. “It’s taken us a while to make the final acquisition. It’s been a difficult, difficult process. But it’s an opportunity for us.”

Rosell, Colmán not at training

Defensive midfielder Uri Rosell and attacking midfielder Josué Colmán were not at Tuesday’s training session. Rosell is finally in Orlando and is working on fitness, according to team officials. Colmán is still recovering from a quad contusion, but Kreis said he is expected back soon.

Richie Laryea and Dom Dwyer are still out with an adductor strain and a quad strain, respectively.

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