'15 Season Preview: Orlando hopes to make waves in MLS

(SportsNetwork.com) - Orlando City SC's inaugural season in MLS is one littered with optimism.

With over 13,000 season ticket holders on the books before its opening match, Orlando's supporters have their sights set on a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference, and it will be Brazilian superstar Kaka leading the charge.

At 32 years old, Kaka certainly has lost a step since the days of his FIFA Ballon d'Or capture (2007), but his skill and anticipatory instincts remain intact, which should serve him well in the slightly slower pace of MLS.

Of course, one-man teams never amount to much, but Orlando has managed to assemble one of the better MLS expansion rosters in recent memory.

Brek Shea will offer some dynamism to contrast Kaka's skill and close control. The United States international also brings a wealth of versatility as he can operate underneath a striker, on the left flank, or even as a left-back. Wherever Shea is deployed, though, one thing is for certain: he possesses one of the most dangerous left foots in MLS.

Orlando also boasts some firepower up front, bringing in journeyman striker Danny Mwanga from the Colorado Rapids while landing University of Connecticut product Cyle Larin with the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

In addition to Larin and Mwanga, Orlando also acquired Honduras international forward Bryan Rochez. At 20 years of age, Rochez is one of the youngest Designated Players in the league, arriving in central Florida from Honduran Primera Division club Real Espana.

"We're extremely delighted that Bryan is joining us for the 2015 season," Orlando City coach Adrian Heath said. "He's a player that we've had our eyes on for quite some time now, as we believe that he has the ability to contribute to the team straight away."

With the top selection in the MLS Expansion Draft, Orlando picked goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from the Portland Timbers, giving the newcomers some instant stature and experience between the woodwork.

Orlando also added Tony Cascio, Pedro Ribeiro and Lewis Neal, but perhaps the best piece of business through the Expansion Draft came when the club shipped Jalil Anibaba, the fifth overall selection, to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for Aurelien Collin.

Collin brings vast experience to the Orlando City back line, making the 28- year-old's arrival an important one.

Tyler Turner and Harrison Heath remain on the roster from the club's transition from USL Pro, adding a bit of heritage to the overall plan.

KEY PLAYERS: Aurelien Collin (D), Bryan Rochez (F), Kaka (M), Amobi Okugo (M), Donovan Ricketts (GK), Brek Shea (M).

OUTLOOK: Expansion clubs typically struggle in the early going of their MLS careers, but Orlando's wheeling-and-dealing could buck that trend. So much of the club's success in 2015 depends on its ability to adapt to the rigorous travel demands, but there is no reason to think that Adrian Heath's men can't conjure a postseason berth in their first MLS campaign.