After a sometimes promising rookie season in which he showed flashes early but faded as the year progressed, striker Santiago Patiño likely had high hopes for a breakthrough in 2020. Selected third overall in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, Patiño scored two goals and assisted on another in just 322 minutes his rookie year.
Despite the emergence of Tesho Akindele last season, the expected return of Dom Dwyer, and the selection of Daryl Dike in this year’s draft, expectations were for Patiño to take a step forward in his development with an MLS season under his belt.
Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass — despite Dwyer’s season-ending injury — and Patiño went on loan to Cimarrones de Sonora Fútbol Club of Mexico’s Liga de Expansión MX on Aug. 21 to get minutes.
Patiño played in only two regular-season games for Orlando City in 2020 — both off the bench — for a total of eight minutes. He didn’t score or assist on a goal or register a single shot attempt in league play, attempting one pass, which he completed for a 100% passer rating. He didn’t commit or sustain a foul or receive a card of any kind.
He also appeared in two MLS is Back Tournament knockout stage games — again, both off the bench — for a total of 12 minutes. He played just one minute against LAFC and saw his longest outing of the year in the tournament final against Portland, albeit just 11 minutes. He completed both of his passes and had one ball recovery against LAFC. Against Portland, he once again completed both of his pass attempts, finishing his year a perfect five-for-five for Orlando City. He committed one foul against the Timbers.
With so few minutes, there’s not much to differentiate Patiño’s four total appearances in 2020, so let’s just go with his longest outing — his 11-minute performance against the Portland Timbers in the MLS is Back final. He was perfect in his two pass attempts and got stuck in for his lone foul of the year. There just wasn’t much to his season, so the fact that he got on the field in such an important match is a feather in his cap, at least.
2020 Final Grade
Given his limited games and minutes played, The Mane Land staff has to give Patiño an incomplete grade for the 2020 season. This comes a year after receiving a 4.5 from the staff for his 2019 campaign. He got a little more play in Mexico, appearing in 11 matches with Cimarrones de Sonora, scoring his lone goal of the year, but it had to be an overall disappointing season for the second-year pro. Dike’s emergence had a lot to do with it, but there just didn’t seem to be much buzz about Patiño as far back as training camp.
The Lions declined Patiño’s option for 2021, so he’ll need to find a spot elsewhere. It’s possible that he could land in the USL Championship, get a fresh start, and try to develop into an MLS-level player. He needs some minutes and a coach that is willing to spend the time to develop his skills. Unfortunately, that will have to take place somewhere else, but as Luiz Muzzi told us on this week’s Mane Land PawedCast, the players who didn’t have their options picked up should be given the opportunity to play, and if that isn’t going to be in Orlando, best of luck to them in getting on the field more for another team.