clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bang for the Buck: Did Orlando City Get Good Value on the Right Side of Midfield?

New, 2 comments

Did ownership manage to replace fallen star Kevin Molino with good production at a reasonable market price?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What was expected to be a rock solid position in the form of Kevin Molino turned to one of flux after the longtime Lion went down with a severe knee injury, setting in motion a revolving door of players that included Eric AvilaLewis Neal, Darwin Cerén, and mid-season acquisition Adrian Winter starting games on the right. The cast cost Orlando City approximately $116,716.49, based on total compensation. (Note: this number was arrived at by average salary of Orlando City's starting right midfielder based on those five players and the number of games they started at the position.)

While we all wonder what would have been had it not been for the devastating injury Molino suffered, the players that stepped up did admirable work when unexpectedly called upon to fill the role. How did they stack up against some of MLS's best?

Darlington Nagbe

One of the most respected right wingers you'll find in MLS, Darlington Nagbe is enjoying the same elite level of success at the professional level as he did at the collegiate level, being coached by the one and only Caleb Porter at both stops. His progression since joining the Portland Timbers as the No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft earned him his first international call-up, being named to the USMNT for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in November of 2015.

That kind of recognition is expensive to keep on your roster, and the Timbers know it firsthand, paying Nagbe $263,000 to play the position in 2015, over twice the cost of the Orlando City right wingers. His production certainly did not disappoint.

Pass % Key Passes Accurate Crosses Goals Assists WhoScored Rating
Darlington Nagbe 88.8 1.9 0.4 5 4 7.3
OCSC RM 80.43 1.2 0.56 4 2 6.64

One number that jumps out is passing percentage, an astounding 88.8%. Head coach Adrian Heath's system is known for safely working the ball around the formation, holding possession. The roster routinely rates in the upper echelon in the statistic, but Nagbe is a different breed. A supremely talented passer, his skill really shows through with the 1.9 key passes per game, showing a blend of efficiency and aggression that is tough to match across MLS.

Cristian Techera

An unknown commodity coming into his debut MLS season by way of Club Atlético River Plate of Uruguay, Techera quickly established a reputation as one of the league's better bargains, costing the Vancouver Whitecaps just $85,000.

At just 5-foot-2, Techera is one of the smallest players the league has to offer -- but there's nothing small about his impact, showing an impressive ability to both finish his own chances and create for others with quality crossing.

Pass % Key Passes Accurate Crosses Goals Assists WhoScored Rating
Cristian Techera 77.7 1.4 1 7 4 7.05
Darlington Nagbe 88.8 1.9 0.4 5 4 7.3
OCSC RM 80.43 1.2 0.56 4 2 6.64

While not as efficient as Nagbe, he appears to be a better value than what Orlando City managed for the role. With more key passes and accurate crosses per game, as well as more goals and twice as many assists as the Lions managed at a portion of the cost, his value appears to be quite clear.

Ethan Finlay

One of the driving forces behind the strong season put forth from the Columbus Crew, Finlay truly broke out in 2015. The No. 10 pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft was a bit pricier than the Orlando City options, costing the Crew $142,500 for what amounted to a phenomenal season.


Pass % Key Passes Accurate Crosses Goals Assists WhoScored Rating
Ethan Finlay 76.4 1.1 0.9 13 11 6.93
Cristian Techera 77.7 1.4 1 7 4 7.05
Darlington Nagbe 88.8 1.9 0.4 5 4 7.3
OCSC RM 80.43 1.2 0.56 4 2 6.64

A unique comparison on the right, Finlay's prolific output puts him in a tier of his own at the position. While WhoScored isn't a fan of the rest of his game, his ability to contribute to the numbers on the scoreboard is unparalleled at the position league wide.

***

This looks like another position in which Orlando City managed to find decent, but not great, value -- an accomplishment considering the impact Molino's injury had on the plan for the position.