Orlando City player reviews: Forwards


Photo: Terrance Coakley / Orlando Soccer Journal

While Orlando’s defense displayed signs of progress, its offense was something that lacked much-needed firepower.

And it’s been like that for two seasons. In 2018, the Lions scored 43 goals in league play. In 2019, 44 goals scored.

While Nani and Tesho Akindele had good individual seasons, the number of chances not executed collectively was noticeable, and that’s something that Luiz Muzzi said will be addressed going into the offseason.

Below are the 2019 OSJ player reviews on Orlando City’s forwards. 

Dom Dwyer — The Orlando designated player recorded seven goals in 27 games the Lions this season — his lowest since his rookie season in 2012 when he went blank on the scoresheet. For Dwyer, though, it fell mostly on missed chances from inside the box and in the long run, it didn’t yield much-needed results for Orlando. Though with Mauricio Pereyra as the No. 10 next season, Dwyer would hope to bounce back in 2020. 

Nani — The former Manchester United player was arguably Orlando’s best player this season after 12 goals and 10 assists in 30 games. For Nani, however, this was one tiring season after having joined the Lions from Sporting Lisbon and pretty much saw the attacker play a full calendar year. Nani has two more years left on his contract with Orlando and is heading into a very much-needed break into the offseason. 

Chris Mueller — Building on a successful rookie campaign, Mueller had a bit of an up and down year. At the beginning of the season, he was a game-changer for the Lions, coming on as a super-sub and scoring two of his first three goals off the bench in the first month of the season. As the season progressed, his production decreased and so did his minutes, only playing 1370 minutes, a decrease from 2018’s 2056. Mueller still contributed to nine goals this season, with more goals scored but fewer assists than last season.  

Tesho Akindele — Traded from FC Dallas during the offseason, Akindele scored a career-high 10 goals in 28 games for the Lions in 2019 — good enough to finish as the second-leading scorer for Orlando during the regular season. 

Santiago Patiño — Chances were hard to come by for Santi during his rookie year for Orlando. The forward finished the 2019 regular season with two goals in 11 games (two starts). A lack of playing time was another factor, but perhaps spending some time on loan next season can prove to be beneficial for the local kid. 

Benji Michel — After spending the first part of the season playing sparingly, Michel had a breakout performance in the U.S. Open Cup against the New England Revolution that seemed to springboard the young forward into success. After scoring his first MLS goal in July, he would score four goals in his next 10 matches, putting him in fourth on the team in total goals scored. His speed and skill proved valuable and with such a high ceiling, expect the local product to improve in 2020. 

Editor’s note: Mike Gramajo, Austin David, and Gavin Ewbank contributed to the article.

For more soccer news, follow the Socer Journal on Twitter: @osjsoccer


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