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2018 Orlando City Season in Review: Scott Sutter

The starting right back proved his value throughout the season, continuing to be one of Orlando City’s most solid players.

MLS: Seattle Sounders at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On March 3, 2017, Orlando City announced the signing of right back Scott Sutter. The English-born Swiss international had been playing with BSC Young Boys of the Swiss Super League. Sutter immediately made an impact on the reconstructed roster for Jason Kreis, becoming a dependable fan favorite. Heading into the 2018 season, he was considered to be one of the team’s keys to success, but an injury stalled his season.

After starting four of the first five games, Sutter felt a sharp pain on the inside of his right knee during the April 8 game against the Portland Timbers. The injury would sideline the defender for nearly two months before his return on May 23.

Sutter wouldn’t fully return as a regular starter until July 29, but he quickly regained his previous form, being one of the Lions’ best options in the back and going forward. From the end of July on, Sutter started the remainder of the team’s games.

Let’s take a deeper look into Sutter’s 2018 season.

Statistical Breakdown

Sutter played in 19 games during the 2018 MLS season, starting 18, and played a total of 1,567 minutes. After starting four of the first five games, injury forced him to miss the next 10 league games before making an appearance as a 66th-minute sub for Will Johnson on June 23.

The right back was strong going forward, accumulating three goals and two assists. His most memorable offensive moment was on March 31, when his shot on goal in the 86th minute deflected off the head of Josué Colmán and past Luis Robles for the game-winning goal. In total, Sutter attempted 17 shots on the year with five on target.

While Sutter is a good defender, it’s his attacking presence that creates the most trouble for other teams. Flying down the right wing, he will often send curling balls into the box for the waiting attackers. He also keeps the ball well, one of his finest attributes. This season, he completed 84.5% of his passes, which led all Orlando City outside defenders, and only trailed Lamine Sané (88.1%) and Chris Schuler (87.3%) for all defenders.

On the defensive side, Sutter committed six fouls in his 19 appearances, drawing eight from the other team. He earned no yellow or red cards on the season. Additionally, he averaged 1.6 clearances per game, 1.5 tackles per game, and 0.3 blocked shots per game.

He did not appear in any of Orlando’s three U.S. Open Cup matches.

Best Game

Sutter had several strong performances during the 2018 season but his best would have to be on Sept. 1 against the Philadelphia Union. Defensively, he won two tackles, but his biggest impact on the game was in the attack. Sutter completed 38 of his 41 passes for a 93% pass completion. He attempted two shots (one on goal), made two tackles and had two clearances.

While Sutter’s game stats were solid, it was his impact at the end that sees this performance stand out from others. With the game tied at one, Philadelphia appeared to have taken all three points when Fafa Picault scored in the 88th minute. Just as the clock had surpassed normal time, Josué Colmán won the ball in the box and, with his back to goal, completed a back heel pass to the overlapping Sutter. His first touch of the attack was a low, hard strike past Andre Blake, allowing the Lions to claim a point, something that had been hard to come by.

2018 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Scott Sutter a grade of 6.5 for the 2018 MLS season — the same rating we gave him last year. The right back generally had very strong performances throughout the year with his worst being right after he came back from injury, which would be expected. When he was at full health, Sutter was strong defensively and was dangerous in the attack.

2019 Outlook

After a season in which Orlando City finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, second worst in the league, and set a new league record for most goals conceded, it’s difficult to find players that would be welcomed back in 2019. However, along with Dom Dwyer and Yoshimar Yotún, Sutter is one player that the club will almost certainly work to bring back next season. Similar to Dwyer and Yotún, his absence was obvious during the season because the team was so much more effective when he was on the field. If Sutter can stay healthy in 2019, and if the team can come to terms with him — Transfermarkt says his contract is up after 2018 — he will play a key role in the team’s success.

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