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Cristian Higuita: Orlando City's Rising Star In the Midfield

Following a Man of the Match performance against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night, Cristian Higuita is proving himself as a player with a bright future in the middle of Orlando City's midfield.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Orlando City fans focusing their attention on young Colombian prospect Carlos Rivas,


You should be watching the other young Colombian prospect on the team, Cristian Higuita, who -- after a good match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night -- continued to cement his place as one of Orlando City's most impactful players this season.

With an 86.8 passing percentage and total control of the midfield, Higuita was probably Orlando City's best player on the field Saturday -- he was my man of the match -- while giving fans, like myself, another reason to appreciate Adrian Heath and Paul McDonough's abilities to scout and sign premier international talents, like Higuita, Rivas, Rafael Ramos, and even Bryan Rochez.

Orlando City signed Higuita with high hopes that he would make an impact almost immediately. At just 21 years of age, the Colombian international, who was recently considered for call-ups to his country's senior team for upcoming friendlies, has played like a veteran for Orlando, but also shows far too often that he's just 21 and still has a lot to learn about playing the game, especially in MLS.

Young players make mistakes, and Higuita is no different. He commits the silly fouls in the midfield, complains and argues every call against him, and even makes questionable decisions from time to time. However, when he's on, he's fun to watch.

Continued progression with Orlando City over the next couple of seasons will only put the defensive midfielder in better positions to play consistently for his country, with the 2018 World Cup even feeling like a possibility if he continues to improve.

Like Ramos, I can't see him lasting much longer in Orlando City once his international profile grows bigger for Colombia, which very much benefits Orlando in the future.

Finding a rookie of the year is becoming increasingly difficult to find on this Orlando City squad, and Cristian Higuita has certainly thrown his hat into the running.