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2022 Orlando City Season in Review: Jake Mulraney

A look back at the Irish winger’s first season with Orlando City after arriving from Atlanta.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Charlotte FC Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City acquired winger Jake Mulraney from Atlanta United on May 5 in exchange for $200,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM), with half of that coming from the club’s 2022 pool of GAM and the other half coming from its allotment in 2023. There was another $75,000 in 2023 GAM potentially going Atlanta’s way if certain unnamed performance metrics were reached.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Mulraney had a bit of a reputation in Atlanta as a super sub who could provide a spark off the bench and get down the left flank to provide service and some danger. But Mulraney ultimately didn’t add much to the Orlando City attack, and when MLS U22 Initiative signing Gaston Gonzalez injured his knee in his final match with his former club, the OCSC front office had to bring in Ivan Angulo to strengthen the position.

Let’s look back at the Dublin, Ireland native’s first season in Orlando.

Statistical Breakdown

Mulraney was cap tied to Atlanta United in the U.S. Open Cup prior to the trade to Orlando, so he did not appear in any of that competition’s matches as a Lion in 2022.

In MLS play, however, Mulraney appeared in 17 matches with Orlando (10 starts), playing 726 minutes. He didn’t play a full 90 in any match with the Lions this year. Mulraney did not contribute a goal or an assist on the year, attempting 11 shots and getting only one of them on target. His passing rate was a solid 82.5% and he contributed six key passes, but he also turned the ball over 14 times. Defensively, Mulraney contributed 17 tackles, five clearances, and three interceptions. He committed just eight fouls and drew 22 on the opposition and was booked twice.

The winger also played 13 minutes off the bench in Orlando City’s playoff match at CF Montreal. He did not contribute a goal, assist, shot, or key pass in the game and only touched the ball three times. He completed his only pass attempt and served an unsuccessful cross into the box. He did not register any defensive statistics, committed no fouls while drawing one, and was not booked.

Best Game

It’s tempting to go with the 1-0 win over Inter Miami on July 9 here. Mulraney played just 20 minutes in that match and completed all eight of his passes, but the most memorable moment was his cross in stoppage time that resulted in the Damion Lowe own goal that gave the Lions the victory. I mean, look at this beauty:

That said, let’s be a little more fair and go with his performance in Orlando City’s 2-1 home win over the Houston Dynamo on June 19. Mulraney started the match and played 65 minutes, recording a season-high four shot attempts on the evening, although none were on target. He passed at a 76.5% rate on 17 attempts — tied for his fourth most on the season. Mulraney also completed a dribble and drew two free kicks without conceding one. He may not have gotten an assist, but he was part of the buildup to Ercan Kara’s opening goal in the match, getting the ball into the corner and laying off for Joao Moutinho, which you can see on the replay in this goal video:

Mulraney also flicked a header on later in the match that deflected off a Houston defender to captain Mauricio Pereyra, who fired a shot off of Kara and in for the second Orlando goal — the eventual game winner — in the match.

Even though his performance didn’t provide the single-most memorable moment of his season with the Lions, it was his most complete and solid attacking performance. In a season in which Mulraney struggled to get involved in the Orlando attack, he was involved against the Dynamo.

2022 Final Grade

Mulraney’s composite grade from The Mane Land staff is not a good one. This is not a player the staff enjoyed watching in 2022, which is reflected in his rating of 4 out of 10. And there wasn’t much variation across the staff. The lowest grade was a 3.5 and the highest a 4.5, so members of the staff were universally unimpressed with his performance after his arrival from Atlanta United. More performances like his game against Houston would certainly have helped his rating.

The move seemed to make sense at the time — Orlando City needed wing play on the left side, and it was worth taking a shot at a veteran guy who was looking for more playing time and had previously had an 18-month stint with English Premier League side Queens Park Rangers. The Irishman had a somewhat promising start with Orlando, but toward the end of the season he was adding so little that his inclusion in the team made it seem like the Lions were playing with 10 men at times. This was reflected in his managing only three touches in 13 minutes with Orlando chasing the game at Montreal in the postseason.

2023 Outlook

The big question is what Mulraney’s contract status is at the moment. He has played two seasons in MLS since being signed by Atlanta in January of 2020. Terms of his deal were not disclosed in the signing announcement. Mulraney was announced as already being under contract for 2022 in Atlanta’s year-end roster announcements after the 2021 season. It is possible that Mulraney either has a third year or a club option year remaining on his contract (or possibly two option years). The deal with Atlanta will seem worse when Orlando City sends the $100,000 in 2023 GAM to its northern rival.

This is a player who might be able to better integrate into the team with a training camp under his belt, but our staff grades clearly indicate that we feel Orlando should move on from this player as soon as possible. The winger had a base salary of $301,600 and a guaranteed compensation of $338,777 in 2022. The clubs split Mulraney’s 2022 budget charge but did not announce what percentage each team was paying. His salary is far too much money to spend on a player who had so little production and didn’t seem to mesh well with the other players on the pitch. That’s especially true if the player is likely to be, at best (assuming Angulo remains with the Lions), the third option at his position in 2023. Mulraney has fallen behind Angulo in the pecking order already and Gonzalez will be expected to jump to the front of the line when he’s healthy.

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