Orlando City

2022 Orlando City Season in Review: João Moutinho



João Moutinho was acquired by Orlando City from LAFC in December 2018 in exchange for Mohamed El-Munir. After a season-ending injury in 2020, a subsequent hip surgery and a 2021 season which saw the starter seesaw between active playing time and injuries, the 24-year-old Portuguese left back re-established himself as a sound presence during the 2022 campaign.

The former No. 1 overall selection from the 2018 MLS SuperDraft logged career highs in games played, games started and overall minutes during the 2022 season. Let’s take a look at the defender’s fourth season in Orlando.

Statistical Breakdown

Moutinho appeared in five of Orlando City’s six U.S. Open Cup matches (two starts), logging 298 minutes. He did not score a goal or attempt a shot through his five matches in the competition. He completed 80.4% of his total passes, including four key passes, 11 accurate long balls and two crosses. Moutinho recorded one assist — in the semifinal against the New York Red Bulls. On the defensive side of the ball, he was responsible for six interceptions, and notably won 100% of his duels in the Lions’ 3-0 win in the championship match against Sacramento Republic FC. He committed two fouls while suffering one and was not booked during the tournament.

In the MLS regular season, Moutinho was a consistent force on the back line for Orlando City. He logged 2,461 minutes across 28 regular season matches (28 starts), essentially doubling both the number of matches he started in 2021 (14) and his total minutes played (1,290). He scored two goals on 18 shots, getting four on target. He completed 1,103 of his 1,376 total pass attempts for a 80.2% total passing accuracy on the season. Moutinho completed 20 successful crosses and gave the ball away 26 times to the opposition. Defensively, Moutinho contributed 69 tackles, 30 interceptions, 28 blocked shots and 44 clearances. He committed 38 fouls, while suffering 11, and he recieved eight yellow cards and no red cards on the season.

In the Lions’ MLS Cup playoff match against the Philadelphia Union, Moutinho started the match and went the full 90 minutes. He did not have a goal contribution, completed 73.5% of his passes including one cross, logged one shot that was off target, and recorded one tackle.

Best Game

Moutinho’s best game of the season came back on July 23 in a disappointing 1-0 loss against the Philadelphia Union. Throughout the game he paced the Lions with a team-high five tackles and a game-high four aerial duels won. Essentially, Moutinho was all over the field on a night when he completed 80% of his passes, which included two successful long balls, and recorded a team-high 83 touches. If there was any knock on the night, it came on a careless yellow card that he picked up for kicking the ball away after a foul call. For his effort on the field, Moutinho recieved our Man of the March honors.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Moutinho a final grade of 7 out of 10 for 2022, equaling the composite grade he had recieved the last two seasons. For a player who has missed significant playing time in his career so far, logging a significant bump in quality minutes played was certainly a step in the right direction. He demonstrated a strong chemistry in the attacking third when linked up with dynamic players down the left hand side of the pitch, such as Iván Angulo and Facundo Torres, and was solid on the defensive side of the ball throughout the season.

2023 Outlook

Moutinho is currently out of contract, and rumors have been circulating of a move overseas for the 24-year-old Portuguese left back. In the last week, Orlando City left him off of the team’s list of protected players in the MLS Expansion Draft and also traded for 22-year-old Luca Petrasso, a flexible, left-footed Canadian who the team may view as a replacement for Moutinho if his contract is not renewed in the City Beautiful. One way or another, the 2022 season can largely be considered a success for Moutinho who proved that he possessed the ability to stay healthy and contribute on the field both to the Lions and to himself.

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