Orlando City hire 'top-target' James O'Connor as club's new manager

Orlando City SC hired James O'Connor as its new head coach on Friday and he will make his debut on July 7 when Orlando City plays LAFC.

Interim coach Bobby Murphy will coach the Lions on Saturday when they visit Atlanta United.

O'Connor will coach Louisville City FC of the United Soccer League Saturday for the final time. He has a 56-21-27 record in three-plus seasons with the club.

"This has been a difficult decision for myself and my family and in such a short space of time," O'Connor said via the Louisville City website. "While I will be forever grateful for my time here with Louisville City FC, the opportunity to coach in Major League Soccer is simply one I cannot pass up.

"To be able to build a club from the ground up and to experience the successes we've had in just over three years is something I am very proud of.

O'Connor, 38, replaces Jason Kreis, who was fired in mid-June after the team's sixth-straight setback. Orlando City has currently lost seven games in a row.

"James was our top target going into the coaching search," Lions general manager Niki Budalic said. "He has proven himself a consistent winner as both a player and coach at the USL level, and now is extremely eager to prove himself in MLS.

"James is very aware of the winning culture we have built in Orlando and what it will take to uphold that tradition in both the short and long-term. We couldn't be more excited for him to get started."