A busy offseason may have Orlando City SC looking like a juggernaut squad heading into the 2018 Major League Soccer season, but it’s also welcoming pressure for the Lions.
“I think pressure is part of the game. There can always be more pressure, we kind of need pressure to be able to perform,” said Scott Sutter on Monday after the team’s training session. “It’s definitely a healthy pressure. We have brought in some good players, so the pressure is on us… we know that, and we accept that, hopefully we’ll thrive to it.
“We put enough pressure on ourselves, we know what we want to achieve, we know we want to make the playoffs and that started three weeks ago,” added Sutter. “It’s just what we need to do and keep that mind throughout the season.”
Sutter, 31, is one of the few faces that stuck around with the Lions after the end of last season. With a massive exodus of players at the end of 2017, saw an overhaul of players arrive to Orlando in the offseason.
For Sutter, however, it means competing for the right-back position, where he mostly started in 2017, with newcomer and former New York City FC player RJ Allen.
“It’s been healthy competition. I think in all positions not just right back,” said Sutter. “RJ has come and done really well, but just everyone. I think we have a really good depth in squad this year, which maybe lacked last year, especially with the many games we had and the travelling.”
Allen, 27, agrees with Sutter, saying it’s healthy for both of them to compete for the right-back position, which can serve as a crucial position for the Lions’ playoffs hopes.
“We both are guys that want to compete and want to play, but I think it’s been a good competition,” said Allen. “It’s one that will continue moving forward throughout the season. Scott [Sutter] is a great player and it’s a good and healthy competition for both of us.”
While there’s competition for all of Orlando’s starting positions ahead of its March 3 home opener against DC United at Orlando City Stadium, the former NYCFC right-back praised the club’s rebuild this offseason.
“Obviously the club went out and spent some money, and they want to succeed,” said Allen. “For me, it’s great to see that they’re pushing and trying to take that next step forward. Obviously, our first and foremost goal is to make the playoffs. But I think as a club and as a group with the caliber of players that we have here, I think we can achieve more than that.
“I think we can’t stop at just the playoffs, we need to look past that and to succeed and look for more than just making the playoffs because with the caliber of players we have, it’s definitely doable,” Allen concluded.
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City)