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Orlando City March Madness Bracketology: Round 3

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We’re down to the Sweet 16 players as you vote for your favorite Lion of all time.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’re down to our Sweet 16 as we continue to search for the most popular Orlando City player among readers and followers of The Mane Land. We started with 64 players from across both the USL and MLS eras of Orlando City SC and now we’re down to 16 and it’s time to get the third round underway so we can determine our Elite Eight.

So far, it’s been all chalk. The top four seeds in each region have advanced to the final 16, so it seems our seeding has been somewhat accurate, as we tried to predict the most popular players in club history. However, things are probably going to get more interesting from here on out and an upset or two wouldn’t be surprising.

The second round brought our second split vote of the competition — the closest of the 16 match-ups in Round 2 — in the battle between second seed Joe Bendik and seventh seed Luke Boden. Bendik won it by 36 votes in the end. Boden edged Bendik by a 47-40 mark in the poll here on the website, but Bendik captured the Twitter poll by a 150-114 final. With that, the former goalkeeper moved into the final 16.

There are just two players remaining in the field who played only in the USL era — Dennis Chin and Miguel Gallardo. Kevin Molino and Dom Dwyer remain from both eras. The rest of the field only played for Orlando City during the MLS years. Five players on the 2020 roster — Dwyer, Nani, Robin Jansson, Chris Mueller, and Ruan — are still in contention. It seems you like the current guys best.

Round 3 has the opportunity for some upsets. I’m predicting Mueller will knock out Bendik in this round, while Yoshimar Yotún has the potential to eliminate USL legend Chin. Ruan vs. Gallardo could go either way. Will the MLS-only fans bounce Miggy? What about Cristian Higuita? He goes up against another fellow original MLS Lion in Cyle Larin. Larin certainly scored more goals and was mostly a starter while Higuita struggled to keep a starting spot in the midfield. But the Colombian didn’t run off to Turkey like the Canadian did — that might simply mean he had a less shady agent, and Besiktas created the bulk of that animosity anyway. This match-up too could go either way.

In the “West” region, Adrian Winter’s inexplicable popularity could propel him to the biggest upset of this round, as the No. 4 seed takes on No. 1 Kevin Molino. If goals, games, and trophies mattered, Molino would breeze past Winter, but people sure do have a soft spot for the Switzerland native. Kaká and Nani will each battle a popular center back, but I’m not sure Jonathan Spector or Robin Jansson have enough muscle to knock off the tournament’s two biggest stars. Dwyer will square off against popular fullback Scott Sutter, and that should provide the biggest test yet for the top goal scorer since the Lions started playing in Orlando.

This is what the bracket looks like entering Round 3:

We’ll update the bracket again after each round of voting. The polls are available below. Please note that if you do not see the polls and are reading this site on your mobile device, that some services automatically strip out the polls, but — not to worry — you can still vote on our Twitter feed or here on your desktop or laptop computer.


“East Region” Third Round

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    1) Kaká
    (66 votes)
  • 5%
    4) Jonathan Spector
    (4 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    2) Joe Bendik
    (14 votes)
  • 80%
    3) Chris Mueller
    (56 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

“South Region” Third Round

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    1) Nani
    (50 votes)
  • 28%
    4) Robin Jansson
    (20 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    2) Dennis Chin
    (25 votes)
  • 63%
    3) Yoshimar Yotún
    (43 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now

“West Region” Third Round

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    1) Kevin Molino
    (36 votes)
  • 47%
    4) Adrian Winter
    (32 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    2) Cyle Larin
    (16 votes)
  • 76%
    3) Cristian Higuita
    (53 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

“Midwest Region” Third Round

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    1) Dom Dwyer
    (50 votes)
  • 28%
    4) Scott Sutter
    (20 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    2) Miguel Gallardo
    (25 votes)
  • 63%
    3) Ruan
    (44 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now