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2021 Orlando City Season in Review: Antonio Carlos

The center back built on a good first season in purple and continued his role as an anchor at the back.

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Orlando City originally signed Antonio Carlos back in December of 2019. He was originally signed to a one-year loan deal that included an option to buy at the end of the season. That’s exactly what happened as he was signed to a permanent three-year deal in December of last year after the end of the 2020 season. In his two years with the Lions he’s cemented himself as part of Orlando’s first-choice center back duo alongside Robin Jansson.

Let’s have a look at his second season in Orlando purple.

Statistical Breakdown

The big Brazilian played in 29 regular season games for OCSC, starting 28 of them and playing a high of 2,414 minutes. He took 17 shots, putting three of them on target and scoring twice, both of which were headers. He passed the ball at an 87.3% rate with five key passes.

On the defensive side of the ball he recorded 28 tackles, 117 clearances, 26 blocks and 58 interceptions during the regular season. He committed 29 fouls while drawing 16 and was given six yellow cards and one red.

He went the full 90 minutes in Orlando’s playoff game on the road against Nashville SC. He notched two interceptions while passing the ball at a 78.8% rate.

He also started the Leagues Cup game against Santos Laguna and went the full 90 minutes. while recording four tackles and winning nine duels.

Best Game

Carlos’ best game of the season came in the 1-1 draw on the road with Nashville SC back on Aug. 19. The big center back started and went the full 90 minutes in a gritty come-from-behind effort. He finished with a tackle, an interception, a block, won five of nine aerial duels and made six clearances, with three of those coming after the 80-minute mark. He had 73 touches and completed 87% of the 60 passes that he attempted. He was also given a yellow card for a professional foul.

Above all that though, he also scored the equalizing goal that ultimately helped Orlando rescue a point. The Lions were awarded a free kick in the 58th minute and Mauricio Pereyra put the ball in a great spot for Carlos to attack it and send a header back across Joe Willis and into the net. After leveling in a game that Orlando looked to be fairly well out of at times, he then stood strong at the back while Nashville was pushing forward and trying to take all three points.

Carlos was given the Man of the Match award by our own Marcus Mitchell with a grade of 7 out of 10. While it wasn’t his highest grade we gave him during the season, his outsized impact on this game means that this was his best of the year.

2021 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Antonio Carlos a composite rating of 8 out of 10, a half-point increase from his grade last year. The Brazilian center back was a crucial part of OCSC’s defense, continuing his strong partnership with Jansson that was established last season. He remained a bedrock at the back for Orlando and his durability in playing 29 games was doubly impressive in a year when OCSC was ravaged by injuries in every position. He also contributed two goals on the year — one of which rescued an important point for the Lions.

2022 Outlook

Carlos is under contract with the club after signing the aforementioned three-year deal at the end of last season. He will be back alongside Jansson as the core of Orlando’s defense, and if the Lions’ back line has better luck with injuries than it did in 2021, the defense should be a strength for the team. Handing him a three-year contract after last year looks like a very good move indeed so far, and the club will be happy that it has one of the pillars of its defense locked up for the foreseeable future.

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