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2017 Orlando City Season in Review: Léo Pereira

After a strong start, young Léo Pereira ended up a disappointment in his only season in Orlando.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Léo Pereira was acquired by Orlando City on a season-long loan from Brazilian Serie A side Clube Atlético Paranaense on March 14. Initially, with Orlando City B, he made his debut for the club on March 30, and his first start at center back on April 4, partnering with Zach Carroll. Pereira made three appearances for OCB before being called up to the MLS side on April 14. The Brazilian would bounce up and down during different points of the season, ultimately making eight appearances for OCB.

Periera’s time in MLS started well, providing two very good performances in his first three games. He looked very strong in the air in his debut against the San Jose Earthquakes and had a fantastic performance against the Chicago Fire at home. However, his play worsened considerably during the year, leaving many to remember the 21-year-old’s multiple mistakes that turned into goals for the opponents, including a bad giveaway to Brek Shea against Vancouver and an own-goal against the New York Red Bulls.

Statistical Breakdown

Periera played well during his time on the back line for OCB, starting eight games and playing 720 minutes. His 62.2 percent success rate in aerial duels and 33 clearances helped OCB to a positive goal difference, despite missing out on the playoffs.

After being called up to the senior side, Pereira appeared in 10 games, starting nine, and played 805 minutes. He didn’t score or assist on a goal, mustering two shot attempts — both off target. His 16 fouls resulted in two yellow cards, but probably the most memorable moment of the season will be his own-goal against the New York Red Bulls when, attempting to slide in and clear a low cross meant for Sacha Kljestan, Pereira put the ball past Joe Bendik and into the Lions’ net evening the game at one.

Best Game

Like most Orlando City defenders, Pereira ‘s best game was on June 4 when the Lions drew the Chicago Fire 0-0, despite being down to nine men. He finished that game with the most tackles and clearances on the team and was second in interceptions. He did well with the always dangerous David Accam, keeping the speedster off the board and allowed the Lions to come away with a point.

Final 2017 Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Léo Pereira a 4.5 for his lone season as a Lion. While he started strong and had the occasional decent game late, a string of poor performances lowered his score. Of the five center backs Orlando City used this year, Pereira was most certainly the worst and the biggest liability.

2018 Outlook

Pereira doesn’t have one — at least not in Orlando. The Brazilian’s loan spell expired at the close of the Lions’ 2017 season and he returned to his home country. At only 21 and with good size and decent skill with his feet, Pereira has plenty of upside if he can develop. Being thrown in and out of the lineup with different central defense partners in his only year of MLS didn’t do him any favors.


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