International Call-Ups Will Test Orlando City's Mettle

This weekend Orlando City will experience one of the unique aspects of MLS to which other clubs have grown accustomed, losing players for international duty.  Most leagues around the world break for FIFA's international dates, avoiding the loss of key players who take a brief leave of absence to join their national teams. But, with the exception of major international tournaments, MLS plays through these international dates causing teams to lose key players during those periods.

Orlando City will be the team hit hardest by this current call-up – losing seven players to international duty including four starters from the last two games.  Further complicated by a few nagging injuries, the Lions could be challenged to dress a full sheet of 18 players for Saturday's trip to Montreal.

"Everybody we have left is available for selection," Adrian Heath said Tuesday about his depleted squad.  "We literally are down to that.  At this moment in time, we probably won't strip 18 players."

While the missing elements this weekend will be troublesome for the team still attempting to gel, it will give several players an opportunity to prove themselves.  "I've always said, one door closes another opens for somebody else," Heath philosophized.  "There will be opportunities for a number of our players this weekend who probably have been a bit frustrated at not playing."

One of those players that will see an opportunity is left back Luke Boden.  After starting four seasons in USL, Boden has yet to see any action this season, playing behind Brek Shea.  But despite all his teammates that will be missing, Boden maintains that it won't affect the group.  "We've got a strong team.  I know there are a lot of people away but we've got people in the team who can easily fill the roles so it won't make a difference to our mentality going into the game. Every game we go into we go in to win.  And that won't change against Montreal."

MLS' policy of playing through international dates has been controversial and becomes more so as the league continues to grow.  This weekend will see 57 players missing due to international duty, placing teams in difficult situations.  "My concern would be that if I was a team that spent an awful lot of money brining top international players in," Heath explains. "If I'm Toronto and I lose (Michael) Bradley, and (Sebastian) Giovinco, and Jozy Altidore, when I've spent a lot of money to try to advance the league and I've paid for it by not being able to play all these players, I think you can feel some sympathy for the clubs and the coaches in that situation."

But Heath understands that it's a league-wide dilemma this weekend.  "It's going to be the same for most of us this weekend.  We've just got to get on with it."  Heath also emphasizes that it's important that the team focuses on what they have and not what they're missing.  "There's no moaning and thinking about what we might have.  This is what we've got now so let's make the best of what we can."
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