Orlando City

2023 Orlando City Season in Review: Robin Jansson

Robin Jansson was a rock in the Orlando City back line in 2023.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City acquired Robin Jansson early in the 2019 MLS season and the center back has become a key part of the club’s success over the past five years. The Swede signed a two-year extension in 2021 with options for 2023 and 2024. The club announced after the 2023 season the exercising of his option for next year, keeping the vice captain on the team for a sixth season in purple.

Jansson was injured late in the 2022 season, requiring foot surgery. However, he came back stronger than ever in 2023 with one of his best seasons for Orlando City. Once again, he was one of the most dependable players in the team, playing a crucial role all year long. 

Let’s take a look at Jansson’s impressive 2023 season.

Statistical Breakdown

Jansson played in all 34 regular-season games for the Lions this past season, starting 31 and playing 2,880 minutes. He was a problem for offenses across the league, recording 23 interceptions, 91 clearances, 31 blocks; winning 59.2% of his duels; and recording a success rate of 50% by winning 12 of 24 tackle attempts. In the attack, he took four shots with none on target, so he didn’t score any goals. He completed 1,380 of his 1,613 passes (85.5%), including 107 longs balls and six key passes, but he did not record an assist. Jansson’s tendency to receive unnecessary bookings has been a problem for the defender, but he kept his cool in 2023, only getting booked five times and not receiving any red cards. Additionally, he drew 21 fouls and committed 18.

As one of Orlando City’s most important players, Jansson played every minute of the club’s MLS Cup playoff campaign, starting all three matches and logging 300 minutes. He didn’t have any interceptions in the three games, but recorded 13 clearances, three blocks, and three tackles, and he won 76.9% of his duels. He completed 119 of his 136 passes (87.5%) with 14 long balls but provided no key passes or assists. Neither of his two shots were on target, so he didn’t score any goals. He committed two fouls and drew four in the three playoff matches, receiving one yellow card.

Jansson started both Concacaf Champions League games against Tigres UANL, playing all 180 minutes. He completed 94 of his 105 passes (89.5%) with 11 long balls, but didn’t have any assists. He also didn’t have any interceptions, committing two fouls and drawing four, picking up one yellow card. In the attack, he didn’t take any shots, so he didn’t score any goals.

In the reformed Leagues Cup, Jansson played all three games and recorded 270 minutes. He completed 109 of his 122 pass attempts (89.3%), connected on two long balls, and provided three key passes,but no assists.  He intercepted four pass attempts by the opposition while committing one foul, drawing four, and getting booked once. He took one off-target shot during the competition, so he didn’t get on the scoresheet.

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja made some changes for the team’s lone U.S. Open Cup game in 2023, but kept his best center back in the starting lineup. Jansson played all 90 minutes at Charlotte, completing 46 of his 56 passes (82.1%), including five long balls, but as the team was shut out, he had no goals or assists. He committed one foul and was booked and didn’t draw any. He also didn’t take any shots.

Best Game

Jansson had multiple stellar performances this season, but his best came on May 20 in a 3-1 win at Inter Miami. The hosts had yet to acquire Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, but still had a potent attacking threat with Josef Martinez and Leonardo Campana. The center back partnership of Jansson and Antonio Carlos created problems all night for the opposition, resulting in Miami only recording six shots and two on goal.

Jansson was the biggest problem for Miami on the night, recording three interceptions, seven clearances, and two blocks in 90 minutes — all team highs. He completed 24 of his 27 passes (88.9%), which wasn’t his best passing game but still a high percentage. There were games where Jansson was more effective in the attack, but he wasn’t any better defensively than he was against a bitter rival.

For his effort in the game, our Marcus Mitchell gave Jansson a 7.5 grade, tying him with Carlos and Cesar Araujo for the second-highest. It might have been a Man of the Match performance if not for Ercan Kara recording a goal and an assist on the night.

2023 Final Grade

The Mane Land staff gave Jansson a composite score of 8 out of 10 for the 2023 MLS season, the highest grade he’s received in his five years with the club. After receiving a 6.5 in 2019, he’s flipped between 7 and 7.5 over the past three seasons, with a 7 in 2020, a 7.5 in 2021, and a 7 again in 2022. The higher grade for 2023 is due to Jansson’s exceptional performances, but also the consistency he showed throughout the season. The center back was one of the most dependable players this year and took part in every game. He received a lot of consideration for Defender of the Year but did not win the award and was not named to the MLS Best XI, but perhaps should have been.

2024 Outlook

Jansson was one of the most important players for Orlando City and will be again next year since the club picked up his option. It’s currently unknown who will be his center back partner in the starting lineup after Carlos was transferred to Brazil’s Fluminense FC on Dec. 16. He could continue to be joined by Rodrigo Schlegel, as he was for much of this year, or a new teammate. Regardless, the team will depend on him as the leader of the defense.

The Swedish center back could see an increased role in 2024 after the club parted ways with Mauricio Pereyra. He captained the team six times during the regular season, the second-most behind Pereyra. The only other player to wear the armband in 2023 was Martin Ojeda, doing so when both Pereyra and Jansson were rested for the final game of the season. In all likelihood, Jansson will be given the armband before the 2024 season begins.

This concludes our 2023 Orlando City Season in Review series of player ratings. We hope you enjoyed revisiting the year each player had this past year.

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