So far throughout the 2018 campaign, Orlando City supporters and opposing sides alike haven’t seen much of the pacey, left-footed Victor “PC” Giro on the pitch. Things looked bright early on for the versatile Brazilian, as he impressed during the preseason and was named in the starting 11 for the first match of the 2018 MLS regular season. Things went downhill from there pretty quickly.
The Brazilian probably didn’t further his case for increased minutes when he swung his arm into the back of Yamil Asad’s head during the season-opening draw with D.C. United, causing him to be sent off and suspended for the club’s next two matches. Head Coach Jason Kreis thinks highly of his speedster, but also noted that the incident showed “a little bit of a lack of discipline,” a trait that PC will surely have to improve upon in order to gain more playing time.
Since that sending-off, PC has been utilized as a substitute only once in the last 12 MLS matches, coming on as sub for the closing eight minutes of the Lions’ 2-1 home loss to the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 26, 2018.
While PC hasn’t been given ample time to shine recently in MLS play, he was provided a golden opportunity as the Lions traveled to Hialeah’s Ted Hendricks Stadium to play a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against Miami United FC. PC was named in the starting 11, but not at his usual left back post. Instead, he was deployed as a left wing.
I was ecstatic to see his name on the roster, and then even happier to see that the supporters would have the chance to see him on the wing, rather than on defense. Personally, I believe his hasty presence was felt immediately when his quick feet allowed him to step in front of an errant Miami pass and almost have an early chance on goal. Unfortunately, his touch was just strong enough for the opposing keeper to collect before his arrival.
PC was active during the early stages of this clash, which notably held an electric atmosphere amongst the home Miami fans and the traveling City supporters. His pace, clearly his most important attribute as a footballer, allowed him to create the space needed for a well-placed cross in the 18th minute, but Stefano Pinho fired over the crossbar. Just one minute later, PC himself took a strike at goal, but that too went just over the crossbar.
PC’s play on the wing was noticeable on several occasions, and his decisive passing and pacey runs can be wildly entertaining to watch, especially when seen in conjunction with the touch of Sacha Kljestan (who figured in all three goals on the night) and the creativity and pace of Mohamed El-Munir. Having the chance to see the three in action working down the left wing with ease was exciting. Having a left back-left wing pairing of PC and El-Munir allows flexibility in both the attacking third and in the defensive third, as both can interchangeably swap positions or support the other when necessary. PC’s value on the wing really showed itself in his U.S. Open Cup performance.
PC had such a great outing that he even got on the score sheet himself, which is a relatively rare accomplishment when looking back at his career statistics (and also taking into account that he’s typically a defender). Early in the second half, a wayward pass from a Miami defender allowed Kljestan to pick up the ball and create a 2-v-1 situation at the top of the box. Kljestan, in typical Kljestan fashion, slotted a slick no-look pass into the path of PC, who was clear in on goal and didn’t disappoint by burying it in the back of the net with his first touch.
The point that I want to emphasize here is this: don’t sleep on PC. He’s still the same pacey, versatile, and passionate footballer that he’s always been. If his showing against Miami was any indication of his growth and maturation in discipline, then Kreis is going to have some real headaches when it comes to setting his future starting lineups.
Cheers, PC. Welcome back into the fold. I hope to see more of you, even though we probably won’t until the next U.S. Open Cup fixture against D.C. United or as a situational MLS substitution.
I hope I’m wrong about that.