EDIT: Orlando City has announced that Alexandre Pato has returned to Brazil and will undergo exploratory surgery on his right knee. The surgery will be performed on Sept. 9, with the forward’s initial recovery also to be held in Brazil.
“Pato is an incredible competitor and we’re sad to see him suffer this injury. But we know he will work to get back on the field even stronger,” said Luiz Muzzi, EVP of soccer operations and general manager of Orlando City SC. “We’re ready to support and help him in every way necessary through his recovery.”
Forward Alexandre Pato produced a game-winning secondary assist during Saturday’s Orlando City 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls, but the Brazilian was stretchered away from the game minutes before halftime after suffering an apparent leg injury.
Pato produced a pinpointed long ball to Junior Urso, who then found Facundo Torres on the left side to score Orlando’s only goal in the 17th minute. But in the 41st minute after attempting to shoot the ball inside the box, Pato was bumped by Dru Yearwood resulting in an early exit for the second-year Lion.
Moments after the game, head coach Oscar Pareja wasn’t pleased and questioned why the foul wasn’t ruled as a penalty.
“It was a foul in the area, a violent foul because he injures Pato when he hits his leg,” Pareja told reporters in Spanish. “To us, it appeared clear but we ended up losing a player. Instead of winning a foul inside the box, we lost an important player for us due to injury. He’s knee is injured, he’s on crutches at this moment. We hope it’s nothing serious… It’s a difficult situation because it changed the game plans but the players responded well.”
When asked if the match officials offered any reasons why the play wasn’t looked at through the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Pareja reiterated his earlier comments and said he hopes to have a clear idea of the severity of Pato’s injury.
“Everyone tries to do their job well, and the referees try hard to do it well,” said Pareja. “The play was a foul because it was a player who hurt him, and I thought it was Dru Yearwood who tackled his knee. There was contact to the point that Pato has crutches, and he can’t walk. We reviewed it but we don’t have a good diagnosis right now because we need to wait. Hopefully, we can get him back soon. Nice that we got our points but there was contact there that produced this injury to Pato in the area.”
Pato, 32, is having a rejuvenating year this season for the Lions after a knee injury kept him away from most of the action for Orlando in 2021.
This season, Pato has 3 goals and 6 assists in 22 games played for the Lions.