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Orlando City March Madness Bracketology: Round 4

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

MLS: D.C. United at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve trimmed the field down to the Elite Eight 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 the final eight and we’ll cut the remaining field in half again to determine the Final Four.

Round 3 was tough on our No. 2 seeds. All four went down. Chris Mueller toppling Joe Bendik wasn’t a surprise as Bendik had barely survived the second round. USL legends Miguel Gallardo and Dennis Chin were victims of the combination of recency bias and a comparatively smaller audience for the team back in their time, as they bowed out to Ruan and Yoshimar Yotún, respectively. Scoring phenom Cyle Larin, who won Orlando City’s first MLS league award as the 2015 Rookie of the Year, was sent packing by Cristian Higuita — his original MLS Lions teammate.

To me, Higuita is the biggest surprise entry into the Elite Eight, as a player who struggled to stay on the field under three different coaches before finding the best form of his MLS career in 2019 before getting hit with yet another tough injury. He, along with all three of the other No. 3 seeds, will take on the four No. 1 seeds.

There are no players remaining in the field who played only during the club’s USL era, although Kevin Molino and Dom Dwyer are both still alive after playing in both eras. Molino edged out dark horse Adrian Winter while Dwyer handled Scott Sutter in Round 3. Favorites Kaká and Nani had no trouble dispatching center backs Jonathan Spector and Robin Jansson, respectively.

So on we march in our madness, seeking to cut eight players down to four and the pairings get tougher still. Kaká will face Mueller in the “East Region” final. Nani takes on Yoshimar Yotún in the “South Region.” Molino will battle Higuita in the “West Region” and Dwyer gets his toughest challenge yet in underdog Ruan in the “Midwest Region.”

If a No. 1 seed is going to fall in this fourth round, it would seem that Molino and Dwyer are the most likely. Kaká and Nani have been juggernauts so far and are the favorites to meet in the final, but we’ve got to see how this plays out.

This is what the bracket looks like entering Round 4:

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” Final

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    1) Kaká
    (71 votes)
  • 21%
    3) Chris Mueller
    (20 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

“South Region” Final

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    1) Nani
    (66 votes)
  • 27%
    3) Yoshimar Yotún
    (25 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

“West Region” Final

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    1) Kevin Molino
    (34 votes)
  • 62%
    3) Cristian Higuita
    (57 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

“Midwest Region” Final

Poll

Select your favorite Orlando City player between:

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    1) Dom Dwyer
    (44 votes)
  • 52%
    3) Ruan
    (48 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now