One of the great mysteries haunting the early stretch of the season has been the play of Kevin Molino. Tasked with playing on the left, in the middle and on the right in three games, he's managed to play soccer of relative quality without running mate and team captain Kaká.
For some, however, more is expected from the man that carried the Lions through their USL days. When you vividly remember him scoring 20 goals, when his ridiculously good play leads you to write an article proclaiming the beginning of #Molinomania, it's understandable to expect more.
The real question to ask is -- are we getting it? Is Molino's play in 2016 beyond the immediate returns we saw in 2015?
Lucky for us, I'm nerdy enough to keep Excel spreadsheets for every player in every Orlando City MLS game. Let's have a look.
Despite the "getting settled" excuse made for players experiencing new leagues, Molino was a more accurate passer to kick off 2015, completing 84.66% of his passes compared to 80.3% this year.
He is averaging about a dozen fewer touches per match, possibly caused by missing the back-and-forth game he and Kaká had been developing -- which could explain the drop in passing percentage.
When it comes to creating chances, Molino averaged two key passes per game through the first three games last season. This season? He has two total.
The numbers are more impressive last season, but one has to wonder how much Sir Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite influenced those numbers, and how his absence impacts them this season.
Molino was an awfully quiet contributor through three games in 2015, failing to register a goal or an assist while acclimating himself to Major League Soccer.
This year, he's getting a chance to play with Kaká's favorite toy, Kid Fantastic.
Somehow, some-effing-how, Molino manages to put this ball -- with his right foot from the left side, mind you -- right between Chicago's center backs onto the golden toes of Cyle Larin's left foot.
Considering his inaugural MLS season was cut short due to a devastating knee injury, and he's beginning this season without his favorite teammate, Molino appears to be coming along quite well. So go ahead, watch that ridiculous pass on repeat. You know Caleb Porter has the Portland Timbers doing the same.