When Matej Oravec was acquired for an undisclosed transfer fee from Slovakia in January, the expectation was that he would be competing for Haris Medunjanin’s minutes at central midfield.
Seven months later, there are more questions than answers about the 22-year-old, whose pronunciation of the word successful led to fans dubbing 2020 “Sexy Season.”
Through six games counting the first two regular season games of the season, Oravec hasn’t seen the field and based on head coach Jim Curtin’s comments Tuesday may not while the team is in Florida.
Curtin has relied on Warren Creavalle off the bench and started the veteran against Orlando City with Jose Martinez serving a one-game suspension. When he had a chance to replace Creavalle with Oravec against Orlando he chose instead to sub in Jakob Glesnes and push Jack Elliott up into the midfield.
With Creavalle questionable with a tweaked hamstring for Thursday’s MLS is Back Tournament quarterfinal, Curtin appears to be more likely to use a center back in the role than Oravec if needed late in the match.
“I think they’re getting better in training,” said of both Oravec and homegrown midfielder Cole Turner. “But obviously, not quite ready for us to use so far in this competition.”
Turner and Oravec both played 50 minutes in a recent scrimmage against Orlando, Curtin said.
“They did okay in that, but as of right now, they’re still fighting to get into the the team and into the selection and get on the field,” Curtin said.
Interestingly enough, Martinez was the player Sporting Director Ernst Tanner referred to as a “project” in the offseason, but he’s since emerged as the starter while Oravec appears to be buried in the depth chart behind the veteran Creavalle, Elliott and possibly even Turner.