Orlando City

2022 Orlando City Season in Review: Mauricio Pereyra



The 2022 MLS season was Mauricio Pereyra’s fourth with Orlando City and his third full season with the club. He originally signed with the Lions on July 30, 2019 and the midfielder re-signed with the club on a one-year deal on Dec. 17, 2021.

Nani’s departure following the 2021 campaign left an opening for captain and the Uruguayan filled that void. The midfielder has played a deeper role as a box-to-box midfielder under Oscar Pareja and built on his club record for assists. Let’s take a closer look at Pereyra’s season.

Statistical Breakdown

Pereyra appeared in all six of the team’s U.S. Open Cup games this season, starting three times and recording 394 minutes. Only one of his seven shots was on target, resulting in his lone goal. The playmaker completed 222 of his 275 pass attempts (80.7%), including nine key passes, 16 long balls, and one assist. He had four interceptions, committed 11 fouls while drawing 10, and was booked three times.

In the MLS regular season, Pereyra made 32 appearances with 31 starts and accumulated 2,551 minutes. He scored one goal and put 10 of his 33 shot attempts on target. He missed his only penalty attempt (against Seattle). He led the team with 11 assists, had 63 key passes, and completed 1,249 of his 1,509 pass attempts (82.8%) and 104 long balls. Defensively, the midfielder had 26 interceptions, 56 tackles, 11 clearances, and three blocks. He committed 40 fouls while drawing 62 from his opponents, and was booked five times.

Pereyra played all 90 minutes of the Lions’ lone playoff game. He didn’t score or assist on a goal, or attempt any shots, but he completed 42 of his 52 pass attempts (84.6%) and had three key passes. He also completed four long balls and didn’t turn the ball over. Defensively, Pereyra had four tackles and two interceptions in the 2-0 loss. He committed two fouls, drew two, and was booked in the match.

Best Game

Pereyra’s best game came on May 25 in a 1-1 Open Cup draw and penalty shootout win over Inter Miami. The midfielder came on in the 60th minute for Sebas Mendez, playing the final 30 minutes and extra time. Pereyra was a game-changer, completing 64 of his 74 pass attempts (86.5%) and seven key passes. After Jean Mota gave Inter Miami the lead in extra time, Pereyra assisted on Facundo Torres’s goal to send the game to penalty kicks.

While all of Pereyra’s three shots were off target, he stepped up and came through in the clutch. Pereyra put away the fourth and final penalty for the Lions, helping them advance to the quarterfinals.

In addition to his season-high seven key passes, what makes this game stand out for the captain is the pressure of a knockout game and his impact on it. Also, the fact that the club ended up winning the tournament, the first major trophy in club history.

Pereyra also completed six long balls in the match, turning the ball over only once, and had an interception. He committed one foul, drew two, and was booked.

2022 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gives Pereyra a composite grade of 7 for the 2022 season. His 2022 grade is half a point lower than last year and in 2020, as he was graded a 7.5 in those past two seasons. Despite the slightly lower grade, the midfielder was the team’s primary chance creator, leading the team in assists and key passes. His deeper role helped him get on the ball more and create more in the attack, but it also forced him to do more critical defending than in years past. At age 32, the captain was sometimes a step behind being able to make those kinds of plays when needed, a little late in closing down, or just caught too far up field on change of possession.

2023 Outlook

Pereyra signed a one-year contract prior to the 2022 season so the club would need to come to an agreement to keep him in purple next year. However, it’s hard to believe that they won’t come to a deal. He’ll be 33 in March, but he was one of the best players on the team and was a good captain. The team already lost a veteran leader in Junior Urso — who often wore the captain’s armband when Pereyra wasn’t on the field — and could lose Pedro Gallese. As a result, Pereyra’s leadership will be essential if he returns in 2023.

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