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2022 Orlando City Season in Review: Robin Jansson

The Beefy Swede had to deal with injuries in 2022, but still had a good season.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Jansson has been a fan favorite and staple of the Orlando City defense since he arrived from AIK in the Allsvenskan, the top division of Swedish football. The Lions originally signed the Trollhättan, Sweden native prior to the 2019 season. He helped turn around a dismal defense, and in 2021 he signed a new contract through the 2022 season with option years for 2023 and 2024.

The Viking — or The Beefy Swede as he is affectionately known at The Mane Land — had some injury challenges in 2022, but was still a key contributor to Orlando City’s success. Let’s look back at his fourth year with the Lions.

Statistical Analysis

In the U.S. Open Cup, Jansson appeared in five of the six matches (four starts), logging 460 out of the 600 total available minutes (two of the games included 30 minutes of extra time). Sadly, Jansson was injured for the final against the Sacramento Republic. He attempted four shots, with one on target, and no goals or assists. However, he scored in penalties against both Miami and Nashville to help the Lions advance in both shootouts. Jansson completed 86.2% of his 289 pass attempts with 17 accurate long balls and no key passes. He finished with eight interceptions, committing three fouls, suffering four, and earning two yellow cards.

During the regular season, Jansson appeared in 22 of Orlando City’s 34 games (22 starts), logging 1,971 minutes. Injuries limited the amount of matches and minutes for the Beefy Swede to the detriment of Orlando City’s defense. However, he did score a goal, attempting 15 shots (a career high) and getting four on frame (tying a career high), which is not bad for a central defender. Jansson also provided one assist on the season. He passed with 86.5% accuracy, had two key passes and 100 accurate long balls (62.1% success rate), and was accurate on his lone cross. Defensively, he won 18 of 24 tackles (75% rate) and contributed 24 interceptions, 67 clearances, and 17 blocks. Jansson won 67 of 109 duels (61.5% rate), and 20 of 41 aerial duels (48.8% rate). He committed 13 fouls and suffered 10, receiving eight yellow cards (thus, getting suspended twice for accumulation) and getting sent off once.

Jansson missed Orlando City’s playoff match with an injury, which was less than ideal for both the player and the club.

Best Game

The Beefy Swede is usually as steady as a rock when playing in defense, though a rock that yells at referees. For me there was a clear-cut choice for Jansson’s best match, the 1-1 draw at New England on June 15 at Gillette Stadium.

The Lions fell behind in the 22nd minute on a Carles Gil stunner from outside the box. But when Orlando City won a corner kick in the 34th minute, it was time for Jansson to even things up for the Lions. Mauricio Pereyra put the ball into play, and João Moutinho tried to get his head on it. Moutinho felt there was a handball on a Revolution player, but while everyone was looking to the referee, Jansson took the ball and went towards goal. This was no big guy header off the corner, nor a lucky one-time touch for the goal. This goal had everything from a deft touch to get past a defender to a clinical finish through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net.

Of course, the goal was just the highlight of his performance. He had an 81% passing rate with three long balls, a completed dribble, and three shot attempts. Defensively, he made six clearances, won three aerial duels and added a tackle. The performance won Jansson a clean sweep of Man of the Match picks from both Michael and I on The Mane Land PawedCast, and in our player grades piece for that match.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Jansson a composite score of 7 out of 10 for the 2022 season. That is down a bit from his 2021 score of 7.5 which is unsurprising given he played fewer minutes due to injuries. Still, you can tell that he is a key part of Orlando City’s defense and, frankly, the offense. He is the most accurate long ball passer on the defense and can ignite transition opportunities due to his vision and precision, which the Lions sorely missed down the stretch. There were also the long runs he’d make through the opposition as if they couldn’t believe the Beefy Swede was attempting an attacking run from his own back line. His tendency to pick up unnecessary yellow cards, and miss games because of it, affected his final score.

2023 Outlook

Jansson was signed through 2022 with option years for 2023 and 2024. It was a bit of an odd year in 2022 with both Antonio Carlos and Jansson being out with injuries. Most of the time it wasn’t at the same time, so Rodrigo Schlegel was able to fill in, but the club is better when Carlos and Jansson are on the pitch together. I fully expect that Orlando City will pick up Jansson’s option for the 2023 season in hopes of keeping that consistent center back pairing together. Jansson will be 31 when the 2023 season begins, and there’s no reason to assume he can’t do the job physically. Now, if we can just get him to yell at the referees in Swedish rather than English, it will all come together.


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