2016 was a much better year for Kevin Molino. The 2015 season was cut short due to injury, but he came back very strong this year. Orlando City’s first MLS signee was a welcome addition to Orlando City’s attack, and had excellent chemistry with his fellow players. He has been nominated for the 2016 Comeback Player of the Year award, and with good reason.
The 26 year old midfielder from Trinidad and Tobago played in 30 games this past season and started in 26 of those games, logging 2,315 minutes. Molino took 59 shots (22 on goal) and was the second leading scorer on the team, finding the back of the net 11 times. He finished the season with an 80.1 percent passing accuracy which was also good for second on the team.
Defensively, Molino made 1.9 tackles per game, 0.8 interceptions, and 1.3 fouls according to whoscored.com. He committed 38 fouls, was called offsides seven times, and received only one yellow card on July 23, 2016. He also scored a goal in that 2-2 draw.
On July 31, 2016, Orlando City beat the New England Revolution 3-1. It was the first game under new head coach Jason Kreis, and the Lions came out strong. That strong showing included a brace from Molino in the 64th minute and the 83rd minute. It was a good enough showing for him to be named The Mane Land’s Man of the Match. Our own Austin David wrote:
Molino Mania is sweeping the nation. Notched his eighth assist in the 46th minute on a pass to Larin to open Orlando's scoring. Had a great chance for a goal in the 52nd minute off of an Alston cross, but his deft flick went inches wide of the net. Scored his eighth goal on the year, a header from a cross from Shea, which gave Orlando the 2-1 lead. Then, in the 83rd minute, from a multitude of combination passes from Molino, Boden, and Kaká, the Trinidadian finished an open chance in the box for his ninth goal on the year.
2016 Final Rating
The Mane Land has graded out Molino at a 7 for the season. Molino was certainly one of the most effective players game in and game out for the Lions. He scored goals, created chances, and was a consistent threat to opposing teams. His stats reflect what the eyeball test showed us as we watched the games. It was exactly the type of performance that Orlando City fans were hoping they’d get from the Trinidadian. In fact, he performed so well we made him our Orlando City Player of the Year.
Given Molino’s production in 2016, I fully expect him to stay in Orlando. Hopefully, Kevin will be able to build on his successes from this season, and be even more productive once Jason Kreis gets his system and surrounding players in place.