Thanks to Michael Citro of The Mane Lane, the SBNation Orlando City SC blog, for answering our questions. Check out what LAG Confidential had to say here.
LAG Confidential: It's been two months since Adrian Heath was fired as manager of Orlando City. Has the fanbase warmed up to Jason Kreis?
The Mane Land: Yeah, I think so. Certainly the fan base was largely split on Adrian Heath because results speak loudly in sports but I suspect most people were pleased with the hiring of a former Cup-winning coach. The results so far (3-2-2) and, more importantly, the product on the field has improved, and that's always going to win over fans. Under Heath, Antonio Nocerino looked lost and Carlos Rivas appeared to be a bust. Somehow Kreis has gotten those two to buy into what he wants from them and in response Nocerino has flourished and we got our first DP-worthy performance out of Rivas since last year at New York Red Bulls (and his first ever as a striker). If Kreis can keep the team above the red line and get the Lions into the playoffs this season, it should cement him firmly as a favorite in Orlando City fans' minds.
LAG Confidential: When Matias Perez Garcia was in San Jose, he seemed like a quality footballer who was being under-utilized by Dominic "More than two touches and you get time-out" Kinnear. Now he's thriving under Jason Kreis. What caused the turnaround?
The Mane Land: I think MPG was simply not a good fit in Kinnear's system. He looked like a talented player playing out of position in San Jose or maybe he was being asked to do things that go against his nature as a player. Kreis has long coveted the diminutive Argentine, dating back to his days at RSL. Now that he's got him, he's deployed MPG in the attacking midfield and his short passing game complements the way Kevin Molino and Kaká like to play, so it makes all three more effective. I was personally told by one blogger from the Western Conference not to expect any defense from Perez Garcia, but he's making plays in his own third, as he did to turn New York City FC over to spark a Kaká counter-attack goal two games ago. His pressure defense at Montreal created a Laurent Ciman turnover that resulted in another Kaká goal on Wednesday. He looks like the full package. Whether that's simply from being afforded more freedom in Kreis' system, playing with other midfielders who complement his style, or just a change of scenery, I couldn't say. I'm just glad he's here because he's been one of Orlando City's best players since his arrival.
LAG Confidential: Forward Cyle Larin has been attracting interest abroad for some time. Do you think the Canadian international will be sold in the off-season?
The Mane Land: My gut tells me that Orlando City will hold onto him for one more season unless an offer is made that the club (read: the single-entity league) can't refuse. I don't think Cyle wants to go to Europe to play for a second-division team in Portugal or Belgium. I think he wants a shot at top-flight European soccer. Another season in MLS might elevate him to that level. I also think (I won't swear to it because...convoluted MLS rules) the club gets a higher percentage of the sale if it waits one more year out from his Generation Adidas signing, so there's a financial incentive to hold him another year. In the meantime, we'll continue to enjoy Kid Fantastic's contributions at the top of Lions' formation.