Season’s greetings, Mane Landers! We are getting down to gift-getting crunch time for your friends and family (unless you can score some two-day shipping), and while luckily in our household the presents are wrapped under the tree, there are still several holiday traditions to take part in. That is right, a holiday movie binge marathon always seems to get us in the spirit of the season, and so we thought what would be more festive and fun than to compare some of your favorite Orlando City stars to those characters from the silver (and small) screen that we have come to know and love throughout the years!
Robin Jansson — Yukon Cornelius
Starting off with an OG holiday character only feels right when compared to the real life Orlando counterpart in Jansson. In the classic Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Yukon Cornelius is the brash and blustery prospector who first meets Rudolf on his travels and eventually comes to his rescue. For much of his career with Orlando City, the central defender has been on the field to rescue teammates and situations from the jaws of defeat. A player who isn’t afraid to get loud and be brash on the pitch has been essential to the establishment of a strong defensive identity, and if Jansson were to star in his own holiday special, he would certainly remind us of Yukon and his pick axe.
Rodrigo Schlegel — Clark Griswold
Who can forget Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation? To this day, it’s one of my favorite holiday movies because of Clark’s character arc throughout the movie. At the heart of the story, Clark is just a dad who wants and will do anything to give his family the best holiday possible. Who better sums up that type of character and willingness to do whatever it takes for the team than Schlegel? He’s the player who will always be remembered for saying, “Papi, I can do that!” as he took the keeper gloves and recorded a monster save against Gudmundur Thórarinsson to win a shootout against NYCFC. That type of do-anything attitude was on display for his club once again this past season when Schlegel was thrust into significant minutes throughout the year, replacing other center backs Jansson and Antonio Carlos.
Cesar Araujo — The Grinch
Stingy, with a tough exterior sums up both the Grinch and midfielder Cesar Araujo. The Grinch made a name for himself by swiping the fun of anyone he came across, and throughout his first season on the field, Araujo did just that to any and all opposing forces that stood in his way. Shutting down teams’ primary attackers at such a young age and playing beyond his years has made Araujo one of the best non-DP signings in recent Orlando history. But while the Grinch occasionally gave presents back to the Whos down in Whoville, so too would Araujo leave Orlando City fans with not one, but two massive gifts this year in the squad’s U.S. Open Cup match against the New York Red Bulls, scoring once before halftime and then recording his first professional brace in the 61st minute. To this day, they say even Red Bulls fans’ hearts grew three sizes after seeing the joy on Araujo’s face!
Mauricio Pereyra — Kevin McCallister
It is certainly hard to fathom forgetting an 8-year-old at home while the family flies off to France in 2022, but believe it or not, back in the ‘90s, that very thing happened to young Kevin McCallister...twice! Resourceful, with a giant bag of tricks up his sleeve, the young hero in the Home Alone franchise was able to protect his home from the Wet Bandits (later renamed the Sticky Bandits) by taking the tools and items around him and fashioning them into prominent weapons. These are exactly the same characteristics that Pereyra has been able to demonstrate on the field for the Lions in his time in the City Beautiful. A player who has grown to be known as the Maestro, someone constantly pulling the right strings at the right time to make those around him better.
Facundo Torres — Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
Our last player comparison comes by way of the most famous reindeer of all! Rudolph was first overlooked for his special abilities and bright red nose, but when Santa needed someone special to lead his team through a winter storm, Rudolph saved the holiday season. Torres came into this season as a new DP signing for Orlando City and many overlooked the truly special player that suited up for the Lions throughout the beginning of the season. But much like Rudolph and his nose going down in history, Torres’ playmaking ability would not be kept secret for long. Finishing the regular season with nine goals and 10 assists, bringing the U.S. Open Cup championship to Orlando, and ultimately being selected to represent his home country of Uruguay at the 2022 World Cup, Torres is only beginning to shine as brightly as Rudolph and it won’t be a holiday surprise to any fan of the club to see him continue on his meteoric rise.
That’s a wrap. Let us know in the comments what other Orlando City players remind you of famous holiday movie characters. We hope you and those closest to you have a wonderful holiday season and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings for Orlando City!