Orlando City

Orlando City Signs Center Back Robin Jansson to New Contract

The Beefy Swede extends his stay in the City Beautiful.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Orlando City announced today that the club has signed center back Robin Jansson to a new contract through 2025 with a club option in 2026, meaning he could be in purple for three more seasons. Jansson was on an extension year in 2024 that the Lions picked up after the 2023 season, so the club obviously wanted to lock down the standout defender before the end of the season and now that has happened.

“Since Robin joined us in 2019, we’ve seen him become the focal point of our back line and one of the key leaders within our group,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He’s shown a passion for his teammates and this city that is visible in everything he does. Our defense has become one of the best in the league, with Robin is a very big part of that transformation and getting him signed for another couple years was a key part of our plans for the future.”

The Lions signed the Swedish center back on March 12, 2019 from AIK in his home country’s top flight and he quickly became a fixture in the Orlando City starting lineup. Jansson signed a two-year extension with Orlando in 2021 with options for 2023 and 2024. The club picked up those options ahead of what will become his sixth season as a Lion. He has been one of the club’s most consistent performers in his time in Orlando, had a Defender-of-the-Year-worthy campaign in 2023, and is likely City’s next captain after the departure of Mauricio Pereyra this past off-season.

Returning from foot surgery, Jansson put together his most complete season since joining the team in 2023. He played in all 34 MLS regular-season games for the Lions, starting 31 and playing 2,880 minutes and earning his best grade from The Mane Land since his arrival, earning a composite rating of 8 out of 10. As our Sean Rollins wrote in his Season in Review piece:

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.

He played every minute of Orlando City’s three playoff matches, started both of the Lions’ Concacaf Champions League matches and all three Leagues Cup games, and was in the lineup at kickoff for Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup match at Charlotte. After sometimes being overshadowed by the play of central defense partner Antonio Carlos over the past several years, Jansson emerged as Orlando City’s most essential player in 2023.

“I’m very happy to sign a new contract and continue the journey we started in 2019,” Jansson said in the club’s release. “I want to thank the club for all the support they have been giving me and for having confidence in me. To our fans, thank you for your love and support.”

In his time in Orlando, Jansson has made 159 appearances (153 starts), scoring five career goals and adding three assists. The Swedish defender is the only Orlando City player to appear in more than 150 matches and he holds the club’s career record for games played. 

Just in league games alone, the 6-foot-2 defender out of Trollhättan, Sweden has made 134 appearances (129 starts), logging 11,677 minutes. He has scored four career goals in purple, adding two assists. Often going for power, Jansson has attempted 46 shots but has only put nine on target, but he’s been an excellent passer, completing 86.4% of his attempts over the years. He’s been particularly good at starting attacks with a well-placed long pass out to the wings. One area of his game that has been problematic is discipline, as he has amassed 29 yellow cards and picked up two red cards over the years. However, that improved in 2023 with just five yellow cards across the season.

What It Means for Orlando City

Jansson is 32 years old, but is still in his prime. As mentioned above, he had his best season since joining OCSC in 2023. When healthy, he’s one of the best (and yet most underrated) center backs in Major League Soccer. He’s an important piece of the puzzle for Oscar Pareja not only for his play, but also his leadership. He is the most likley successor to Pereyra as team captain and does a solid job of directing traffic in front of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Locking down Jansson for what could be his final contract is an important move and now the club won’t have to compete with other clubs around MLS for his services after the season (Jansson would qualify for free agency as a player over 24 who has played in the league for at least five seasons).

At this point, Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel would be the first-choice starting central defense pairing, however, the Lions have been reportedly trying to land David Brekalo, so presumably the club will continue to shop for an additional experienced center back. Whether that is Brekalo or someone else, Jansson will be one of the two starters whenever healthy and the demands of the fixture schedule aren’t too intense.

With the departure of Carlos back home to Brazil this off-season, Jansson’s presence is more important than ever in 2024, and now Pareja will be able to have his Swedish security blanket in the lineup for even longer.


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