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2020 Orlando City Season in Review: Andres Perea

The young midfielder was a pleasant surprise during his first season in purple.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City acquired Andres Perea a little over a year ago, on loan from Colombian side Atletico Nacional. The then 19-year-old Perea had only made 14 appearances for the Medillin-based club, and while he’d featured in games for Colombia’s U-17 and U-20 teams, he was still a bit of an unknown quantity.

I doubt many people foresaw Perea playing in every single one of Orlando City’s matches during the 2020 season save one, I know I sure as hell didn’t. That’s exactly what happened though, as he played in every regular season match, every MLS is Back knockout stage game except for the final, and both the team’s playoff games. He wasn’t necessarily the flashiest player on the field, but he usually provided a calming and industrious presence. Here’s a look at his 2020 season.

Statistical Breakdown

As mentioned earlier, Perea played in all of Orlando’s 23 league games (11 starts), logging 1,190 minutes. He took 16 shots in league play but only put two on target. He did not score a goal, but did notch two assists. He passed the ball at an 82.3% rate and finished with 15 dribbles. Defensively, Perea recorded 31 tackles, 13 interceptions, 22 clearances, and seven blocks, and won 20 aerials. He committed 21 fouls during the regular season and received three yellow cards while drawing 12 fouls.

In his two postseason appearances — both off the bench — Perea logged 61 minutes, He did not take any shots and passed at a 90.45% rate, with three dribbles. The Colombian-American committed one foul, for which he received a yellow card. He also recorded a clearance.

His three MLS is Back knockout game appearances were all off the bench, for a total of 39 minutes played. He attempted one shot (off target) and passed at an 80.7% rate. Perea completed one dribble, made one tackle, committed one foul, was issued one yellow card, drew one foul, and won an aerial.

Best Game

Perea’s best game of the season came in his first ever start for the club, in a 2-1 road loss against the Colorado Rapids on March 7. The youngster was tied for most chances created by an OCSC player, with three, notched the assist on Chris Mueller’s goal, and was also tied for most shots on the team, with three.

While he only passed the ball with 70.3% accuracy, he recorded three tackles, three clearances, three aerials won, and two interceptions. That performance earned him Man of the Match honors from our own Michael Citro, with a grade of 7.

2020 Final Grade

Perea ended up playing a big part in this season for someone who had a lot of unknowns entering the year. While he only went the full 90 minutes in 11 of the 28 games he played, he was often brought on to help tighten up the midfield and provide a more defensive presence when the Lions were looking to hold onto a result. Parts of his game remain unpolished, in particular his finishing ability, but for my money he was one of the most pleasant surprises of the season. The Mane Land staff awarded him a solid composite grade of 6.

2021 Outlook

Perea was initially brought to Orlando on a one-year loan deal that included an option to buy at the end of the season, which is exactly what Orlando did. He will look to build on a solid first season with the Lions, in which he showed enough to get a look at the recent December USMNT camp. However, he will face competition for minutes in midfield from Junior Urso, Sebas Mendez, Uri Rosell, and even Joey DeZart. If he is able to improve his finishing ability and become more consistent with his passing, then he could start to take a larger share of minutes than he did in his first year. He certainly has the tools to be a good defensive midfielder, and if he can develop his offensive game a little more, he’ll become even more valuable to OCSC. At only 20 years old he has plenty of upside and room to grow, and hopefully he does so in 2021.

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