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2018 Orlando City Season in Review: Yoshimar Yotún

It was another stellar season for the Peruvian midfielder.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In his first full season for Orlando City SC Yoshimar Yotún largely picked up where he left off back in 2017. Last season, the man we call Yoshi quickly emerged as Orlando City’s best overall player following his signing during the summer transfer window. After a full preseason camp with the team, Yotún had a great opportunity to emerge as one of the more talented players to play for OCSC, and that’s more or less what happened.

Statistical Breakdown

Yoshi appeared in 22 games this year, starting in all of them. Naturally, that number was higher than the 10 starts in 10 games the Peruvian had last year due to him actually getting a full season with the team. This season, he racked up a total of 1,970 minutes on the field, which was significantly more than last year’s total of 887.

He took 37 shots, putting 11 of them on target and scoring four goals, good for third most on the team, while recording a team-high 10 assists. He committed 29 fouls over the course of the season while drawing 63 from his opponents. That’s a fairly good ratio, but he also accumulated eight yellow cards and a lone red card which made the disciplinary side of things one of the bigger negatives in his game.

He passed at a very respectable 83.3% rate, and averaged 1.9 tackles per game and 0.9 interceptions per game on the defensive side of the ball.

He did not play in any of the team’s U.S. Open Cup matches during the year, but did play in the MLS All-Star Game where he was subbed in in the second half and converted his penalty in the ensuing penalty shootout against Juventus.

Best Game

Yoshi played in a lot of games, meaning it was a little tricky determining what his best game of the season was. In the end though I went with the Lions’ 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake all the way back in May. If we jump in our time machines and go back to a time when OCSC was riding a four-game winning streak, Yoshi went the full 90 minutes in a game that required the Lions to come from behind after a Corey Baird goal in the 12th minute.

That wouldn’t be a problem though, as Yoshi provided an assist from a corner on Lamine Sané’s go-ahead goal before scoring an insurance goal himself with a little under 15 minutes to play.

In our player grades, Yoshi received Man of the Match honors with our readers agreeing and voting to give him the award just ahead of Joe Bendik.

2018 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Yoshi a grade of 7.5 for the 2018 season. Overall, he was consistently one of the team’s best players, and while he did have some off games, there wasn’t a single player on the roster not guilty of some bad games. More often than not he was the best of the 11 Lions on the field. With 10 assists and four goals, he had a quantifiable impact on a number of games for the team.

2019 Outlook

Realistically, as long as the team can ward off any would-be buyers for him, there’s absolutely no reason to think Yoshi won’t be here next year. Along with Dom Dwyer, he’s one of the team’s best players and is almost certainly in the team’s plans for next season. He provides goals, assists, a good work ethic, and an ability to marshal the team and direct play from deep in the midfield.

As stated previously though, the problem will be hanging onto him. In both of his seasons in Orlando, Yotún has been very impressive, and coupled with a good showing on the international stage at the 2018 World Cup, it’s reasonable to think that he’s begun to attract some attention from interested buyers. But as long as those suitors can be fended off and barring an offer the front office simply can’t refuse, expect to see him taking the field for a third season in Orlando City purple.

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