Previously, we have talked about the Kaká, Orlando City's designated superstar and his not-so-superstar like statistics from 2015; we took a look last Sunday at the right midfield position and the horrific season that was seen from the players used at that position in-between Molino and Winter.
This week we run for the good-vibe hills and hopefully find something that looks like a positive for Orlando moving into 2016...the forwards. At the beginning of 2015, Orlando had a young, fresh out of college, first overall MLS SuperDraft pick in Cyle Larin, an unproven young Designated Player in Bryan Róchez, a Brazilian who also could play center back in Pedro Ribeiro and really only one veteran, Martin Paterson.
The inaugural season for Orlando City may become known as the year of Larin. Most fans are in tune with how last year was a coming out party for the MLS Rookie of the Year. He went on to score 17 goals in just over 1900 total minutes and grew throughout the season to become an integral part of the Lions roster. Bryan Róchez and Pedro Ribeiro, on the other hand both had different points in the season where they looked to be in form. It just so happened that Pedro peaked a bit early and faded fast while the young Róchez came into his own later in the 2015 season and looked to become more comfortable with every passing game.
But lets start to look at what the numbers show us when these three are compared to other players. As our other statistical showdown pieces have done, this piece will compare the league average player in MLS at the forward position with the three aforementioned players. In keeping with the standards for which players are included in this comparison, players must reach the requisite 700 total minutes of play (except Róchez, or else we couldn't compare him) and should be primarily a forward. We will again be using The Washington Post and FIFA 16 for the metrics and definition of the player's primary position.
The metrics that were used for the comparison between OCSC forwards and the average player at this position are normalized per 90 minutes. The metrics are: Goals (G(90)); Assists (A(90)); Shots (SHTS(90)); Shots on Goal (SOG(90)); Fouls suffered minus fouls called (FS-FC(90)) and Crosses (CR(90)). These are all included in the comparison below, with OCSC players represented by the beautiful shades of purple and the league average player as orange. Any statistic that is above the league average player for that metric is in green, any measure below is in red.
The above visual looks pretty exciting for those readers who have been following the statistical showdown pieces over the past few months. The reason for this is that there seem to be a good amount of positives, statistically, from these young players, outside of Ribeiro. There also seem to be issues with assists and crosses, but considering the role of center forward in Adrian Heath's formation, most of these players are meant to be in the box or playing up the field, not in a position to provide crosses.
Most would look for Cyle Larin right off the bat and, to their credit, he looks strong when compared to the league average forward. Cyle scores at a rate of .80 goals per 90 minutes, well above the league average of .46. He shows this strength in his shots and shots on goals metrics as well when compared to the average player. He does have some issues though when you look into his positive foul metric which is measured by the difference per 90 minutes in fouls suffered and fouls called.
What may be surprising to most readers here is the look of Bryan Róchez, a player who did not see the field regularly until late in the season. Across the same metrics that Cyle Larin showed strengths in, Róchez looks to be even stronger. He scores at a rate of 1.02 goals per 90 minutes, averages 3.74 shots per 90 and 2.38 of those shots are on goal. One thing to remember is that Róchez did not meet the requisite amount of minutes (700) to fully compare him to his counterparts, though he does seem quite exciting. Only with more time on the pitch will we see if he can possibly be another Larin in 2016 or perhaps something even better.
All in all, Orlando seems to have some talent at the top of the 4-2-3-1 that Adrian loves to employ. Larin and Róchez both could help lead Orlando City to a surprising and exciting second season in MLS.