Orlando City

History Shows Facundo Torres Will Overcome Slow Start

The Uruguayan has displayed a pattern of sluggish openings to MLS play.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City Designated Player Facundo Torres entered the 2024 Major League Soccer campaign looking to take a step forward after two good seasons. After signing a new contract through 2026 with the Lions, the 23-year-old Uruguayan laid claim to the team’s No. 10 shirt and knew exactly what to expect from a league that has been trying to shut him down for two years.

However, throughout his first four MLS appearances to start the season, Torres has yet to make a single goal contribution, whether by finding the back of the net himself or setting someone else up to do so. So, what gives? Is Torres in a slump to start the season?

It’s tough to say for certain. Torres has only logged 288 minutes to start the year, missing a home loss to Minnesota United FC due to dealing with a knock, and then the Lions’ lone victory on the year against Austin FC while he was called up to represent Uruguay.

If we examine Torres’ first two seasons with the Lions, we see that by the end of the year, he has previously formed a pattern, finding himself at or near the top of the statistical categories for total goal-scoring contributions despite slow starts over the first third of each MLS regular season.

In his debut season with Orlando City in 2022, Torres logged 913 minutes over the first 11 matches of the year, contributing two goals and two assists. He finished the year with nine goals and eight assists on the season, a good campaign for someone adjusting to the rigors and travel of MLS.

Fast forward to the sophomore season in the City Beautiful, and in 839 minutes over the first 11 matches that he logged to start the year, Torres knocked in two goals and added a solitary assist. Overall in 2023, Torres certainly upped his goal-scoring contributions, ending the year with 14 goals on the season, but surprisingly he only added an additional two assists over the final two-thirds of the year.

It was the hope leading into this season that Torres could at the very least, maintain his goal-scoring output from 2023 and improve his assist numbers on his way to leading Orlando City in both goals and assists. The first four matches have provided quite the opposite in those categories, but it would be very hard to discern whether Torres is in a slump to start the year. If he were to go the full 90 minutes over the next seven Orlando matches, he would end the first third of the 2024 season just slightly ahead of his minutes logged in 2022 (913 vs. a possible 918). And it seems reasonable to expect at least a few goal contributions over the next seven matches, which would put him right on pace with his first two years in purple and gold.

Based on his historical data, it seems feasible to believe that Torres is simply a player who takes some time to round into form as the season progresses. Looking back, over the last two seasons, it becomes apparent that Torres seems to hit his stride in June, July, and August. In 2022, he logged nine goal-scoring contributions during that time frame and then followed that up with 10 goal contributions during the same time last year.

Orlando City fans are hoping that it won’t take another two months for Torres’ form to reach the level that we know he is capable of achieving. Based upon the numbers, I would recommend caution when calling his early start to the season a slump, and that he simply needs more time with his teammates on the training pitch to round into form.

Luckily for Orlando City and Torres, the Lions are off this week, which has provided the team with the longest uninterrupted stretch of training days since preseason workouts.

When do you think that Torres will start chipping in goal scoring contributions? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, vamos Orlando.


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