When Orlando City SC announced the signing of Yoshimar Yotún on Aug. 4, General Manager Niki Budalic was quoted in the club’s press release saying that “he stands out for his passing and creative ability, as well as his versatility to play multiple positions.” Two months after the Peruvian landed in Florida, it’s fair to say that he has lived up to the expectations.
Yotún was brought to Orlando to be a center piece in Head Coach Jason Kreis’ system, but not as a prototypical number 10. Despite that, the small things he does all over the field make the 27-year-old South American worthy of his Designated Player status.
In his first two months with the Lions, Yotún has played eight matches for Orlando City, having scored one goal. His facilitator role was put on display by the three assists he registered in that period. He is tied for second in assists within the team, only one behind teammates who have played more matches than he did: Scott Sutter (30), Kaká (22), and Dom Dwyer (10).
The Peruvian international has also done a solid job on passing the ball, confirming this is one of his main skills. According to WhoScored.com, he averaged 80.2% in passing accuracy, more than any other attacking midfielder on the roster that started at least one MLS match this season. He is also the field player trying long balls more often with 6.1 per game, only behind goalkeeper Joe Bendik (7.1).
Yotún leads the team in passes per game, averaging 54.6, almost 10 more than second-ranked Léo Pereira (44.8). Add to that the fact that he also tops the dribbling ranking with 1.8 per match and it gets easy to understand how important the Peruvian has been on building from the back and controlling the pace for Orlando City.
Yoshi’s intelligence and efficiency with the ball on his feet can be more accurately evaluated by his 3.5 key passes per match, which would be good enough for the best in the league (he is not ranked by WhoScored.com because he played fewer matches than the other players). These numbers also give him the team lead in that category with a huge advantage over Kaká (1.4).
Step by step, Yotún is turning in to an essential piece of Orlando’s starting lineup. He has proven to be an important contributor with his passing ability and is trying to become more of an offensive threat by shooting a lot (1.9 per game, the most on the roster for a non-forward).
The Peruvian’s efforts are starting to be noticed as last week he earned his first MLS Team of Week selection. If expectations are set realistically for Yotún, this could be the beginning of a very successful era for him in Orlando.