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2019 Orlando City Season in Review: Oriol Rosell

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Consistency was key for the defensive midfielder in his second year in Orlando.

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

In an often mentioned crowded defensive midfield for Orlando City, Oriol “Uri” Rosell quite possibly was the quiet stalwart and the most consistent of the group across the 2019 MLS season. We will break down that statement in a moment, but let’s quickly refresh on Uri’s history in purple.

In late January of 2018, Orlando City sent TAM to FC Dallas to acquire the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order in order to sign Uri from Portuguese side Sporting CP. Rosell ended up playing 22 matches, starting 18, and received a final grade of 6 out of 10 for the 2018 MLS season from The Mane Land staff. Also of note from Uri’s 2018 season review was an outlook that had him playing a part in what then-coach James O’Connor was planning for the 2019 season.

Statistical Breakdown

Rosell made 20 appearances in the 2019 MLS regular season, starting 16 games, amassing 1,465 minutes on the pitch, and making one appearance in the U.S. Open Cup for 30 minutes. He took 15 total shots, putting two on frame. He didn’t score a goal but he notched one assist. Rosell committed 24 fouls and received six yellow cards. His passing rating for the season was 85.9% and he averaged two tackles, 1.6 interceptions, and two clearances per match.

A quick look at his 2018 statistics shows the consistency that was mentioned earlier: 22 matches with 18 starts, 17 shots with six on frame, with one assist, an 88.3% passing rating, and 2.3 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, and 1.5 clearances per match. Sounds very familiar doesn’t it?

It is also worth mentioning that Uri was the sixth man to take a penalty in the U.S. Open Cup match against New York City FC, making it and putting the pressure on Maxime Chanot to make his to keep NYCFC alive, and we all know what happened next.

Best Game

As with a few other players being reviewed, picking a best match for Rosell could be a bit difficult. He was voted Man of the Match by The Mane Land staff in two matches, and received the accolades of the readers in two more in MotM reader polls. For me — and this was a very tough choice — his best match was April 27 at NYCFC in a 1-1 draw. Although there are no flashy highlights to link to, no goals to review, or assists to laud, it was a match in which Rosell played a key role. Playing the center position of a three-man midfield, Uri took ownership of the middle of the pitch and made NYCFC work to maintain possession in the middle of the pitch. Rosell was also key to getting the ball forward once the Lions were able to gain possession, and the vast majority of possession seemed to flow through Uri the entire match. Here’s what our Jenn Glasheen had to say about him in our player grades post from the game:

Everything seemed to come through Uri this match. He was focused and ready for NYCFC. He was the root of the goal in the 18th minute, having chipped a pass up to spring Ruan, who got his cross blocked by defenders, but Nani was there to clean it up. We saw another great series from Rosell to Mueller to Akendele resulting in a second goal that would later be called back because VAR + OCSC = disallowed goals (OK, Nani was a smidge offside coming back for the ball). With a passing average of 70% and leading the team in touches at 70, he kept the middle in check for most of the match, picking up a yellow for, I’m still not sure considering everything that went uncalled for NYCFC. You may not agree with my pick of Rosell for Man of the Match, but he has been something to watch as a starter, much like he was in the friendlies during preseason.

2019 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff, with the exception of two contributors, all gave Uri a final grade for 2019 of 6. The two outliers gave Uri a 5.5 and a 6.5, which gives him an average of 6 for the season. This grade is on par with his average from the individual player grade pieces throughout the season in which he averaged a grade of 6.53 (up from 5.98 in 2018). For the second straight year, Rosell stood as a quiet sentinel in the defensive midfield with little pomp and circumstance, just doing exactly what was asked of him.

2020 Outlook

When the 2020 season begins, Rosell will be 27 years old. He works extremely well in front of Lamine Sané and Robin Jansson, and partners very well with Sebas Mendez and Will Johnson. Age and experience, coupled with some youth, can be a very dangerous pairing in the defensive midfield, and Rosell could be the perfect player to fill the age and experience side. As with every thought moving forward at this time in the club’s history, it is hard to know what the Lions will be doing moving forward as we all wait on a new coach to be named; however, I would be shocked if we did not see Rosell in purple again next season.


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