Several reports on social media indicate that Orlando City has found its third Designated Player for 2023 in the form of Argentine winger Martin Ojeda. Cesar Luis Merlo and Will Hanson were the first to post the news with mlssoccer.com’s Tom Bogert weighing in as well.
Sources: Orlando City have agreed a deal to sign Argentine winger Martin Ojeda from Godoy Cruz. Deal being finalized. @clmerlo + @willhansonmls first.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) December 21, 2022
Ojeda, 24, had 13g/14a in 45 apps this year. Ojeda will be Orlando's 3rd Designated Player alongside Facundo Torres + Ercan Kara pic.twitter.com/VSEC63uvDt
Ojeda currently plays with Godoy Cruz in Argentina’s Primera Division, that country’s top flight. The 24-year-old has scored 23 goals in 56 games with Godoy Cruz since 2020. He joined the Primera Division in 2017 with Racing Club, appearing in 14 first-team matches from 2017 to 2020 with Racing, scoring nine goals. He began his career with Ferro Carril Oeste in Argentina’s second division. In 2016 and 2017 Ojeda played in 43 matches with Ferro Carril Oeste and scored five times.
What It Means for Orlando City
If this transfer takes place, the Lions will have filled its three DP slots. Ojeda will require an international roster slot and he’ll obviously be expected to come in and make an impact right away. Ojeda fits the Orlando front office profile, being a young South American player. At 24, he’s entering his prime and if he can acclimate quickly, he can help improve Orlando’s attack.
According to Transfermarkt, Ojeda’s a left-footed player who plays primarily on the left wing. That would put him opposite Facundo Torres in the Lions’ attacking line, unless the Uruguayan is moved to the No. 10 spot. This would cover Gaston Gonzalez, who is recovering from knee surgery. Ojeda can reportedly play either wing or as a center midfielder. The club could play all three young South Americans across an attacking midfield in a 4-2-3-1, but that could further expose Mauricio Pereyra defensively, so it will be interesting to see how Oscar Pareja deploys these assets.
Ivan Angulo, it appears, will become a super sub, although the Lions could also use him at times as a left back because his defensive work is strong and it’s not clear yet if the front office sees Luca Petrasso as the everyday starter at left back.
Gonzalez would not have to rush back from his injury and there would be no pressure on the MLS U22 Initiative winger to produce immediately.
If this move does indeed come to pass, Orlando’s rebuild of the attack would be nearly complete with two forwards taken early in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft tonight. One more veteran forward (like Benji Michel) could complete that picture and then the team can concentrate on shoring up the fullback positions, the midfield, possibly some depth at center back. The team also still needs to re-sign goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Here’s a look at what Ojeda can do: