Orlando City beginning to look healthy on defense


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Bryan Burke is expected to return to the line up this week, following his long rehab stint from a broken leg.

Orlando City SC’s back line is starting to look fully healthy as defenders Rob Valentino and Bryan Burke are both expected to return to the lineup over the next week.

Valentino, who last played two weeks ago against the FC Dallas reserves, should return to the pitch this weekend when Orlando City plays back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.

“I think he’ll come back this weekend,” said Orlando City manager Adrian Heath about Valentino’s return to the lineup. “Weather we play him in the first game or the second game, I’m not quite sure, I might give him a bit more time to get there, but certainly this weekend he will play some part.”

Rollins College alumni Justin Clark has started in Valentino’s place over the last three games, while the veteran defender rested his injured ankle.

Burke’s status for this weekend is more up in the air than Valentino’s, but after a long rehab from a broken leg, which he suffered last season, the 25-year old defender is expected to return to the squad sometime over the next three games.

Heath says he and the coaching staff have had a discussion about whether Burke would join the club on this weekend’s road trip, but Heath does expect him to at least play in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against the Ocala Stampede.

“We’re debating on whether to take him with us this weekend,” said Heath about Burke’s status. “But if not I’m sure he’ll play some part in the Open Cup game next week. And after that he should be fit and well to go.

“Which will be a great, great addition to this squad. He had a fantastic first season with us last year, had a horrific break and has worked so hard to get back. So we’re all really pleased to have him back in the group.”

Burke participated in drills with the rest of the squad at practice on Wednesday, which should be a solid indication that his health is coming along and he could be back on the pitch less than a year after sustaining a broke leg.

Orlando City will travel to Pittsburgh tomorrow, where they will prepare to take on the Riverhounds on Friday, before heading to Rochester to play against the Rhinos the very next day.

The Lions next game in Orlando, will be on Wednesday, May 14 against the Ocala Stampede in the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup. Orlando City’s game against Ocala will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford.