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Matias Perez Garcia: Key to Next Season’s Hopes

Matías Pérez García  needs to be a key player next year if Orlando wants to make the playoffs.

MLS: Orlando City SC at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Matías Pérez García (MPG) is a relatively new player for the Orlando City faithful. Having been recently acquired (in August) not a great deal is known about the small Argentine. The 32-year-old came to MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes from Tigre, a team in Argentina’s Primera Division, in 2014 before being traded to Orlando for Darwin Ceren. He can play just about anywhere in the midfield, but under Kreis’ diamond system, which is hopefully installed next season, I see him ideally as the starting right midfielder.

Under Kreis, a lineup could look something like this:

Now, MPG can be a dynamic player who pulls some coverage off of Kaká and can really let the team build from multiple areas on the field. His dribbling is one skill I have been really impressed with in his 12 games so far with the club. Another characteristic that helps is better ball distribution than Carlos Rivas and Kevin Molino, who are speedsters and tend to look for one-on-one matches with defenders.

MPG also helps add assists to the team, an area in which Orlando has been decent overall but has struggled when there’s no real playmaker on the field like Kaká. The numbers show Orlando is in the middle of the pack at 12th in assists and that number drops to 17th when you take away Kaká’s eight assists this season. That only puts Orlando ahead of teams like Portland, San Jose, and Vancouver which, like Orlando, are below the playoff line — although the Timbers are still in the hunt with one game left.

MPG playing on the right also benefits strikers Cyle Larin and Rivas, who can take advantages of crosses coming from the sides in addition to a Kaká through ball. This makes the team that much more dynamic and, with better play from Molino and a consistent Kaká, Orlando can contend next year.

In his 12 appearances for Orlando, MPG’s play has been very solid when he plays for most of the game. His Who Scored average at right midfielder is 6.97, so he has been playing pretty well so far. With more time to get acquainted with the team and a full off-season, I can see MPG leading the team in assists next season and leading Orlando to its first MLS playoff appearance.