Orlando City acquired the services of Colombian winger Ivan Angulo on July 25, 2022 from Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras on an initial 12-month loan. He made his first appearance with the club in a loss to the New England Revolution on Aug. 6, 2022 and grew into a reliable option on the wing for OCSC throughout the remainder of the 2022 season. Billed as a player who demonstrates a strong change of pace and good top end speed, Angulo has not been shy about taking players on 1-v-1 or sometimes even 1-v-2 or 3. Across the U.S. Open Cup, Major League Soccer regular season, and the MLS playoffs last season, Angulo logged 711 minutes, including seven starts, and recorded three assists with no goals. The Mane Land staff gave Angulo a 6.5 rating on the season last year during his abbreviated year with the squad.
Throughout an off-season that saw significant roster turnover, Angulo remained on the squad and his role expanded heading into the start of this season. During the preseason buildup, Angulo flirted with the possibility of dropping from a attacking winger to a wing/fullback and did so in several preseason matches while the coach staff was experimenting with team shape and player positioning. Through the first seven matches of the 2023 MLS regular season, Angulo has logged five starts, coming off the bench in the remaining two matches, for a total of 470 minutes played. He also started both legs of the club’s first-ever appearance in the Concacaf Champions League against Mexican powerhouse Tigres.
Angulo is arguably enjoying his best start to a season of his career on a senior division team. Prior to joining Orlando City, and outside of his efforts representing Colombia on the U-20 level, Angulo had logged only three career goals and recorded one assist. Fans of Orlando City have yet to see Angulo score on home turf, but in the last three weeks, Angulo has recorded his first and second career MLS goals for the club. His first at Philadelphia against the Union ultimately became the match winner.
His second goal, last week on the road against Minnesota United FC, brought Orlando City level at 1-1 in the 66th minute of the match. While he was not credited with an assist on the team’s second goal, he was partly responsible for the buildup with his quick pace and quirky chip shot, which hit the crossbar and eventually led to Duncan McGuire’s header into the back of the net.
For an Orlando City attack which has stumbled out of the gate to start the season, Angulo is tied for the team lead in goals scored, with two. It has become clear over the first month and a half of the season that Angulo is viewed as an integral part of the starting 11 on match days, and even when he functions as a substitute, his fresh legs and direct style of play can be beneficial to squad.
The season is still young and the team is continuing to grow match in and match out, but if Angulo is able to continue his upward trajectory and finish the goal-scoring opportunities that fall in front of him, then the Orlando City attack will be able to tap into an additional gear which will aid the club as it moves into the dog days of summer.
Have you been impressed with Angulo’s current run of form? What are the next steps of his game that you would like to see him develop and flesh out on the pitch? Let us know in the comments below.