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2022 Orlando City Season in Review: Ruan

The Brazilian right back saw plenty of action in his fourth season with the Lions.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian fullback Ruan spent his fourth year with Orlando City in 2022. He joined Orlando back in Jan. 16, 2019 and has been the first-choice right back when fit. After struggling to stay healthy at times during his first three years in purple, he was able to put many of those issues behind him this year. So, how did his 2022 season go?

Statistical Breakdown

Ruan appeared in all six of Orlando City’s U.S. Open Cup games (five starts), logging a total of 333 minutes in the competition. He notched one (off-target) shot, passed with 77.8% accuracy, contributed five key passes, and made four interceptions. He committed two fouls, suffering nine, and saw one yellow card in the tournament.

In MLS play, the speedster logged 2,468 minutes across 31 appearances (29 starts). Each of those are career highs for his time in Orlando. He matched his goal total from last year with two, but his assists were cut down from four to two. He took eight shots, putting four of them on target, made 24 key passes, and had 1,002 passes at an 82.4% success rate. Only 15 of his 91 crosses (16.5%) found their mark, which has been an ongoing issue with his game, but he was accurate on 32 of his 61 long balls (52.5%). Defensively, he had 35 tackles, 18 interceptions, 31 clearances, and four blocked shots. He won three of his 15 aerial duels, committed nine fouls while suffering 33, and received three yellow cards.

He started and played 87 minutes in Orlando City’s playoff loss, attempting no shots and not registering a key pass. He recorded one tackle and one clearance. Ruan had 25 passes at a 76% success rate and didn’t connect on either of his two crosses or his lone long ball. He drew one foul without committing one and was not booked in the game.

Best Game

Ruan’s best game of the year has to be the 2-1 home victory over Charlotte FC. He opened the scoring in the 16th minute after the Lions put together a nice period of buildup play and the ball found its way across the box for him to fire into the back of the net.

He then grabbed the assist on the winning goal in high-octane fashion. The Lions countered after a Charlotte corner and Ruan tore down the field all alone before squaring it for Facundo Torres to score the eventual winning goal.

He also completed 80.5% of his 41 passes and both of his long balls were successful. Ruan led the team with three interceptions and had a clearance, helping his team earn the win. His performance earned him a 7.5 rating and the honor of Man of the Match in our player grades from the match.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff settled on a 5.5 out of 10 rating for Ruan for the 2022 season, which is a point lower than what he was awarded in 2021. His offensive numbers took a step back, which was unfortunate, considering he played more minutes than in any of his past seasons in Orlando. While he did contribute two goals and two assists, his passing and decision making in the final third became a serious flaw of his game. His lack of accuracy when crossing, in particular, became an issue as time went on and it’s discouraging that he hasn’t improved in that area during his time in Orlando. Despite attempting 18 more crosses, he completed one fewer this year compared to last.

2023 Outlook

Orlando exercised the option on Ruan’s contract last year and then signed him to a two-year contract before the 2022 season, with an option for a third year. He’s expected to be in Orlando next year, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lions bring someone in to provide more depth or some competition at the right back position. While Kyle Smith presents a less attacking option behind Ruan, there are young Homegrown Players like Alex Freeman and Michael Halliday vying to take that spot.

As Torres enjoys playing in some of the spaces where Ruan likes to operate, that might explain some of his struggles in 2022, but it’s also important to note that the Brazilian is essentially playing as a right wingback in the Lions’ odd formation and it takes some time to adjust to new attacking teammates. It would be great to see him return to some of the dangerous levels he’s shown in the past.


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