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2019 Orlando City Season in Review: Santiago Patiño

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Orlando’s first round draft pick couldn’t deliver on the early potential he showed.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Santiago Patiño came to Orlando City by way of the MLS SuperDraft, where he was the third overall pick in the 2019 edition of the event. Patiño played his college soccer at Florida International University, and was drafted to help bring some firepower to Orlando City’s front line. While he saw time in 11 league games this season, his contributions were more limited than he probably would have hoped for, with Benji Michel seeming to emerge as the favored of the two rookies as the season wore on.

Statistical Breakdown

As mentioned above, Patiño played 322 minutes in 11 of the Lions’ league games this season, with an additional two matches coming in the U.S. Open Cup. He started three of the 11 league games and both of the U.S. Open Cup games, and scored two goals and added an assist while taking 12 shots (three on goal), while averaging 0.3 key passes per outing. Patiño committed 14 fouls and drew nine from his opponents. He was booked one time. Defensively, he averaged half a tackle, 0.1 interceptions, and 0.3 clearances per match. He was not offside at all this season.

Best Game

Patiño’s best game was actually his professional debut, at home against the Montreal Impact. While the game ultimately ended in a 3-1 loss for Orlando, Patiño made a very strong first impression after he came on in the 74th minute. He collected a through ball from Chris Mueller, rode the challenge from the Montreal defender, and then had the awareness to play in Dom Dwyer for an assist on his debut. That performance earned him a rating of 7 in The Mane Land’s player grades for the game.

2019 Final Grade

As I hinted at earlier, Patiño was unable to sustain the momentum from his debut across the rest of his rookie season. He found opportunities hard to come by and only played more minutes than Greg Ranjitsingh and Robinho. It feels harsh to call his 2019 a disappointment but Orlando surely would have hoped for more out of its first-round draft pick. His 2019 grade from our staff is a 4.5.

2020 Outlook

Truthfully it’s difficult to envision what 2020 holds for Patiño, especially given that Orlando has yet to name a new head coach. However, he’s young, showed potential in the short time that he was on the field, and perhaps above all else is cheap at a position where the Lions figure to need a lot of depth. Given the fact that we didn’t get many opportunities to see what he’s capable of this year, I think there’s a decent chance he’ll be back as a cheap backup option with a view towards continuing to develop his game.


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