(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC added to its midfield depth with a Peruvian midfielder who’s played the past couple seasons in Sweden. Now, Yoshimar Yotún is not only handling getting to know a new team, but he’s also adapting to a new climate.
From measurements taken from 1981 to 2010 in May, June and July, Orlando temperatures averaged highs of almost 91 degrees Fahrenheit. In those three months in Malmo, Sweden, in 2017, where Yotún played, there was an average high of 66 degrees.
“Yeah, it’s totally different [here],” Yotún said, translated from Spanish, after his second training session on Aug. 9. “Sweden is nine months of cold and now struggling a little bit here in Florida with the heat. But I’m very happy to be here with the club. I’m just trying to adapt right now as quick as I can to be able to contribute on the field.”
From head coach Jason Kreis’ perspective, the heat is something that players and coaches alike never get used to. Despite the new environment for Yotún, his new boss sees he’s managing it well.
“I think we’re all having difficulty with the heat,” Kreis said after training on Aug. 9. “I think if you’re not having difficulty with this heat, you’re not human. But [Yotún’s] handled it really well. I mean, yesterday was his first training session out here, and, talking to him afterwards, he said it was very hot. But he managed it well. It didn’t look like he was gassed or look like he was struggling in the session at all.”
That’s a good sign for the Lions, as Yotún is expected to aid an offense that’s scored just five goals in the past seven matches with one win. While the 27-year-old said his conversations with Kreis have been offensive-minded, he’s open to other roles, too.
“I’m an offensive midfielder, attacking midfielder,” Yotún said. “The head coach knows it. He wants me there. I can play from the outside. I can play in the inside. But I’m always willing to help wherever the coaching staff needs me.”
Said Kreis on his newest addition’s role: “I think [offense is] first and foremost. His best position is where he plays in Peru as a box-to-box-type midfielder with some real-good attacking ideas in the final third and in the attacking half of the field. So, that’s what we’re gonna be looking at him first.”
As for expectations in Yotún’s first Major League Soccer season, he’s not concerned. He’s of the mindset that players of all experience levels have pressures to perform.
“The pressure is always there. From the youngest player to the most experienced player, the pressure’s always there,” Yotún said. “Throughout my career, been managing this pressure with the national team, professional clubs, and, for me, just have to make sure I manage it and form on the field.”
City returns to action on Saturday when they travel to New Jersey to face the New York Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m. A win in New Jersey and a loss by Columbus Crew SC to the No. 2 Chicago Fire would propel City back into a playoff spot with 10 games to go. Yotún is available for selection, per Kreis.
For more on City and Yotún, as they take on the Red Bulls, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.