A position stacked with a lot of depth for Orlando City this season and that was showcased heading into the grueling summer months.
We won’t say much about the whole group, so here are the player reviews from Orlando’s midfield.
Josué Colmán — There wasn’t much from the young designated player from Paraguay. A bit unfortunate to see how things unfolded for Colmán in 2019, but breaking into the XI was something that never came to fruition. So, this past summer Orlando shipped Colmán back to Cerro Porteño on-loan for the next year and a half with the option to recall the attacking midfielder during the 2020 transfer window.
Sacha Kljestan — Played in 23 games but as Orlando made its push for the playoffs, Kljestan’s playing time decreased and played pretty much no part during September. His assist numbers during two seasons with the Lions never hit double digits and came nowhere near what he had with the New York Red Bulls
Will Johnson — 2019 was a bit of a redemption year for Johnson in the eyes of many fans. The veteran midfielder put in his typical season of grit and grind, playing with almost an abundance of energy every game. Despite a down year statistically, with only one goal and an assist through 21 games played, Johnson was an integral part of the midfield and played himself back into the Canadian national team.
Carlos Ascues — The defensive midfielder said earlier this year that his goal was to make it back in the Peruvian national team and that happened. Ascues was not called up to play in last summer’s Copa America for Peru but saw his return to the national team happen after the tournament and that was mostly on his increase of playing time for Orlando.
Dillon Powers — Only playing in seven MLS games and three U.S. Open Cup matches, Powers provided some glimpses of his former 2013 Rookie of the Year self, but mostly, he was a serviceable versatile midfielder that played only when injuries to other players allowed him.
Cristian Higuita — There was some doubt on the role Higuita was going to play this past season. During preseason, he told reporters that O’Connor told him that he wasn’t in his plans, but that eventually turned around in May when the Colombian began seeing regular playing time for the first time in 2019. But then injuries held him down for much of the summer and missed Orlando’s last two games of the season. Higuita played nine games and started in seven for Orlando in 2019 — his least productive season during his tenure with the club.
Oriol Rosell — Uri proved to be vital to Orlando’s depth in the midfield and played mostly as a rotating player, which saw most of his appearances either come as a starter or off-the-bench player.
Cam Lindley — The 22-year-old spent most of the season on-loan at USL Championship side Memphis 901 FC where he started and played in 24 games. A productive season for Lindley after only playing in three games at Orlando the previous year.
Jhegson Sebastián Méndez — One of the more integral offseason signings in 2019, Méndez proved to be a more than capable midfielder for the Lions. Still only 22 years old, the Ecuadorian was a rock in the middle of the park, providing excellent composure and physicality in his role. Despite not registering a goal or assist, Méndez has proved to be a piece to build around in the midfield for the Lions.
Robinho — Brought in during the summer transfer window and didn’t really have much of an impact and saw his playing time towards the latter part of the season decrease.
Mauricio Peyerya — A late addition to the squad, but Pereyra contributed immediately with three assists in six games. There wasn’t much more he can do as Orlando’s playoff run came to end on the second-to-last week of the regular season.
Editor’s note: Mike Gramajo, Austin David, and Gavin Ewbank contributed to the article.
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