Orlando, Fla.- Orlando City SC announced on Tuesday the return of Midfielder Adama Mbengue for the 2014 USL PRO season, pending USSF approval. After being out of contract for the majority of the 2013 off-season, Mbengue and OCSC have agreed to terms for a one-year USL PRO deal.
“Obviously we’re pleased to get him (Adama) back,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath on the arrival of Mbengue. “We weren’t sure on whether or not he would return, but the fact that he is coming back is a big plus for everybody. He’s a very popular member within the group and provides us with more options down the left-hand-side.”
After being scouted in Senegal by OCSC, the talented winger joined the Lions at age 17 and spent his first year in the Orlando City U23s program. After making 10 appearances with the U23s in 2012, Mbengue would become the first player to earn promotion onto the first team when the Senegalese midfielder made his professional debut in a 3-0 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders.
“Everyone still forgets that he is so young,” added Heath. “He has a lot of room to grow and this is a massive year for him.”
Mbengue’s statistical output throughout the past two seasons does not necessarily tell the full tale of his contributions on the pitch, as the midfielder has only scored two goals for the Lions. However, Heath and the other members within his technical camp are well aware of the potential that Mbengue has yet to tap into.
“His first year I thought that he was exceptional, and although he didn’t quite reach the same heights last season, we’re hoping that we can get back on track this year,” said Heath. “The ball is very much in his court but we all know that he has an awful lot of ability.”
Mbengue is likely to make his first appearance of the 2014 campaign in the Lions’ final Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic match, as he joins Heath’s extremely competitive midfield that includes an array of talented playmakers. Earlier in the off-season, Orlando announced that their initial three Major League Soccer (MLS) signings were all midfielders as Heath began comprising a talented squad for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“It’s going to be difficult for all of the midfield players,” said Heath. “We’re trying to get two players for every position and competition will be very strong, but we’ll see what happens. It’s a tough position to break into and it’s going to come down to the individual.”
Source: Orlando City Soccer Media