With the almost-done Cyle Larin’s transfer to Turkish side Besiktas, Orlando City lose a key player for the next MLS season as the Canadian was the main forward of the Lions.
In fact, Larin’s influence on the attack was quite important as he scored 12 goals in 28 matches last season and spent 2.168' minutes on the pitch. Regarding passes and behavior, he assisted 3 times and only received 1 yellow card, which makes him not only a goal scorer but a combinative forward.
Taking these stats in account, him leaving the squad means that the Lions could suffer a goal shortage while the new three strikers/forwards signings get ready and adapt to Orlando City’s mechanics. Nevertheless, none of these new players are considered as goal scoring machines having the capacities to sustain a team on a regular basis.
With this on mind, a recurrent thought about if Orlando City should sign a star/already proven striker for next season it’s a fair question to ask.
While the midfield has been heavily reinforced with top assisters as Sacha Kljestan on the MLS and Chris Mueller on younger divisions, the front line got interesting but not substantial players.
If The Lions want to achieve the main objective that is winning MLS title, they will need to acquire a consistent striker that already proved himself on the MLS or in a foreign league from Europe or South America and has a more-than-decent goal score ratio.
Belgium, Portugal, Colombia, Argentina and France leagues could be great markets for this particular case because of the quality of the players in them and how cheap they are in comparison to other European and South American top tournaments like Spain La Liga, England Premier League or Brasileirao.
For example, 23-year-old Argentinean Franco Soldano from Club Atlético Unión Santa Fé could be a great signing for Orlando City. He has scored 6 goals and assisted 2 times in 12 matches -0.5 ratio- so far, having defeated Gimnasia La Plata thanks to his accuracy.
Scoring in a high-quality league repeatedly it’s a major consideration when comparing two or more players. In this regard, Soldano holds the upper hand against Orlando City’s new forwards.
Nevertheless, let’s see what the new signings did last season:
Stefano Pinho – Miami FC – NASL:
Matches played: 28
Goals scored: 17
With a 0.6 goal per match ratio, Pinho looks like he could help the team regularly. However, NASL level is not an advantage at all. Actually, according to the International Federation of football History and Statistics (IFFHS) Argentina First Division holds 7th position on the best leagues table, while USA national leagues -as a whole- hold 52nd position.
With this being said, we could argue that Soldano scores in a much harder league than Pinho, winning a hypothetic debate.
To show how good he is, he must perform on a higher-level league despite his great performance against Orlando City in the US Open Cup, where he did a Hat-trick for Miami. Nevertheless, he is, from all the striker signings, the most interesting one.
José Villarreal – LA Galaxy – MLS:
Matches played: 12
Goals scored: 0
His stats don’t help him too much on this conversation. No goals in 12 matches for a striker it’s a disaster. He needs to improve a lot to get to the top.
Pierre da Silva – Orlando City B – USL:
Matches played: 26
Goals scored: 3
Not exactly a striker and not exactly a signing. Da Silva comes from B team with a lot of expectations. As a winger, he will contribute to assisting and playmaking, but won’t make difference on scoring.
Dom Dwyer situation:
As any Orlando City supporter knows, Dwyer came last mid-season transfer window to compete with Larin. He played on Sporting Kansas City before Orlando and did quite well, however, was under Larin’s shadow in The Lions squad. He could be the main striker that hold up Orlando City’s offensive, being backed up by the current midfield.
Dom Dwyer – Sporting Kansas City/Orlando City – MLS:
Matches played: 27
Goals scored: 9