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2019 Orlando City Season in Review: Lamine Sané

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How did the defender do in his second full season in purple?

SOCCER: AUG 03 MLS - FC Dallas at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lamine Sané just completed his second full season as a Lion. He was acquired Feb. 20, 2018 from German Bundesliga side SV Werder Bremen to solidify a problematic back line. As time is known to heal all wounds, the defensive additions the Lions made for the 2018 did not stop the team from breaking the record for most goals against in a single season, but Sané was a diamond in the rough, and rough it was.

Sané made 16 appearances for the Lions in 2018, starting in 15 matches. Looking back across his 2018 Season in Review, injuries limited his playing for large sections of the schedule. He scored one goal, had solid defensive statistics, and was given a grade of 6.5 for the 2018 season. The outlook for Sané was positive, noting that when healthy, he was probably the best center back on the Lions’ roster and would benefit from a stable starting defense moving into 2019. So how did Sané do in 2019?

Statistical Breakdown

In 2019, Sané made appearances in 26 matches during the regular season, starting 25 of those for a total of 2,274 minutes. Lamine is also no stranger to pushing forward to help in the attack, and I am not just referring to bringing center backs up for corner kicks or free kicks near the box. He had one assist in the 2019 campaign, and logged eight shots, with one on goal, and was flagged for being offside three times.

On the defensive side of the pitch, he averaged 0.8 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, and 0.5 blocks per match. I think one of the standout statistics is his average of 4.3 clearances per match, helping to generate the massive turnaround in goals against from the 2018 campaign. He also finished the season with an impressive 86.6% passer rating — the fourth best on the team.

Sané also featured in all four of the Lions’ U.S. Open Cup matches (all starts), tallying 420 minutes. In those four matches, he had two shots, committed two fouls, and was the recipient of two fouls.

Best Game

I believe that Sané’s best game was the Week 17 match away to Columbus that the Lions won 2-0 on June 29. It was not the most beautiful of matches, but it was a match that highlighted just how special the relationship between Sané and Robin Jansson could be, and The Mane Land gave the duo co-Man of the Match honors for their combined performance. Although the scoreline doesn’t tell you the whole story, this match was truly won by the back line. Sané had 13 clearances and one interception in the match, but he and Jansson were the Wonder Twins that day and almost carried the team on their backs. A clean sheet on the road is huge in MLS, and this match clearly showed Sané’s potential to rally the troops and command a defensive stand in hostile territory. Just to put it into perspective, his next highest number of clearances in a match was eight in a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, and he averaged 4.3 as noted above.

2019 Final Grade

Sané was one of the more consistent players for the Lions this season when he was on the pitch. Very interestingly, taking a look back at the individual match grades, Sané had very consistent grades match to match, with the few outliers that will always exist. Finally having a solid pair of consistently starting center backs made a big difference this season, and Sané’s play and vision helped with that. In a rather unanimous vote, the staff writers at The Mane Land gave Sané a composite rating of 7 for the 2019 season, as he received the Man of the Match award from the writers and readers three times. WhoScored.com gave Sané the sixth highest overall rating this past season.

2020 Outlook

No doubt that Sané staked his claim to his starting spot as one of the club’s center backs. The only questions surrounding 2020 is that there is still no coach, and he is one of the highest paid players on the roster. Who knows how that will be handled with a club that is desperate for help in the attacking third? As far as this writer is concerned, Sané is currently worth every penny and I expect to see him start on the first match of the 2020 campaign.


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