Orlando City suffered a pair of critical injuries Sunday afternoon to midfielders Cristian Higuita and Matias Perez Garcia. Higuita suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for an estimated four weeks while Perez Garcia suffered a quad injury and is listed as day-to-day. The news was first reported earlier this evening by Orlando Sentinel writer Alicia DelGallo.
The two injuries occurred during the Lions' 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. Higuita's injury forced him to leave the game in the 61st minute with the aid of Orlando City's medical staff. He was replaced by midfielder Tony Rocha — a recent signing from Orlando City B — making his MLS debut.
Higuita returned to action for the MLS side Sunday after being suspended for the previous game against the Seattle Sounders. During his suspension, he appeared for Orlando City B, playing 90 minutes in a 2-1 win against Toronto FC II.
Perez Garcia was acquired by Orlando City on Aug. 3 with Darwin Ceren being sent to the San Jose Earthquakes. This was the Argentine's second appearance for the club — and first start — after he played 35 minutes against Seattle, coming on as a substitute for Hadji Barry.
With Ceren gone and Higuita injured, Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis will now likely turn to Servando Carrasco and Antonio Nocerino in the defensive midfield, although he does have an option on the bench with Harrison Heath returning to action last weekend at New York Red Bulls II after a knee injury kept him out since mid-July. Meanwhile, Orlando City will hope that midfielder Kevin Molino will be fit to take the field again in place of Perez Garcia. Molino missed the Seattle game with a hamstring injury and was a substitute Sunday against the Fire.
In addition to Higuita and Molino’s recent hamstring issues, the Lions have also seen defenders Tommy Redding, David Mateos, and Rafael Ramos miss extended time with hamstring problems in 2016. Star striker Cyle Larin also suffered a hamstring issue in April.