It seemed like the Lions were getting just what they needed when Orlando City signed U.S. international forward Nicholas Gioacchini on July 20 from Caen in France’s Ligue 2. The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup champion is a young attacking piece that seemed destined to bolster a struggling Orlando City offense. As it turned out, Gioacchini made only a few appearances, making his debut with a cameo off the bench in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the New York Red Bulls on July 27. His debut in league play came at D.C. United on July 31.
But by season’s end, it seemed the (now) 22-year-old forward wasn’t deemed ready for regular minutes and was expected to be more important to the club’s future plans than to elevate the Lions in their push for a playoff spot this year. Let’s take a look back at his first season in purple.
Gioacchini made one U.S. Open Cup appearance, playing five minutes off the bench in Orlando City’s 5-1 drubbing of the New York Red Bulls on July 27. He played just five minutes and didn’t contribute a goal, assist, or shot attempt, completing 66.7% of his passes and committing one foul, which earned him a yellow card.
Appearing in six MLS games (two starts), Gioacchini tallied only 134 minutes of playing time in league play for the Lions in his first season in Orlando. He did not produce any goals or assists and attempted just three shots, of which none were on target. He passed at a 67.2% rate with one key pass and contributed one tackle, one interception, and one clearance. He committed one foul while drawing five, and he was not shown a card of any color.
The forward did not appear in Orlando City’s playoff game in Montreal. He did, however, play a game with OCB in MLS NEXT Pro, starting against Rochester on Aug. 17. In his 82 minutes on the pitch, Gioacchini recorded an assist and completed 68.2% of his passes but did not score a goal or attempt a shot.
Gioacchini’s first start as a Lion was probably his best performance. He was a little unlucky early to not latch onto a good pass that found him in front and the mistouch ruined a scoring opportunity. He drew a penalty on a Jimmy Medranda foul with a good cutback move in the box, but teammate Mauricio Pereyra’s poor attempt was easily saved by Stefan Frei. Gioacchini was also unlucky not to pick up an assist in the game when he headed a ball from Pereyra across the box for Ivan Angulo, but Frei made a great point-blank save to keep Angulo’s header out.
36' | So so close from Angulo— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) September 1, 2022
0-1 | #ORLvSEA pic.twitter.com/byr6oEQjuL
In the match, Gioacchini completed 70.6% of his 17 passes, which was his best percentage in an outing of more than 10 minutes. He had one key pass, and one off-target shot. Gioacchini won one aerial and drew a foul without committing one.
2022 Final Grade
Because he didn’t meet the minimum number of minutes played (450) to fairly earn a grade in 2022, the Mane Land Staff rates his performance this year as incomplete. There were certainly flashes of brilliance in his game, particularly with his movement. One such moment was when he earned the penalty against Seattle. He just seemed to be forcing things with regard to passing sequences with his teammates at times and he never quite got into form. That’s not all his fault, as he didn’t see regular minutes, but you would expect even a young player of his caliber to offer more shots and shots on target, so this off-season may provide him a better opportunity to settle in.
Gioacchini’s deal runs through the end of the 2024 season. Clearly, the forward needs to get regular minutes to stay in the USMNT picture. We expect him to come into preseason camp prior to the 2023 season with the goal of earning a starting spot or at least a place in the team’s regular rotation. The 22-year-old has a ton of upside and may become more comfortable with Oscar Pareja’s style and better able to build chemistry with his teammates with a full camp under his belt, rather than trying to pick both up midseason.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Jack Lynn (10/21/22)
- Joey DeZart (10/22/22)