DARWIN CERENDefensive Midfield, El Salvador
Darwin Ceren has been, besides an early season lack of judgement, Mr. Reliable for Orlando City so far this season. The midfield general has started nine games for the Lions and, in Kaka’s absence, has captained the side to respectable standing in the Eastern Conference.
We went into this season expecting Ceren to pick up where he left off last season, teaming up with Cristian Higuita in the midfield to breakup opposition attacks and distribute the ball to his more attacking minded teammates. He hasn’t disappointed us in that regard.
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The El Salvador international was unfortunately injured during the May 15th match against Sporting Kansas City and , even though Servando Carrasco has stepped in and done a phenomenal job, there’s no question that the Lions are a more complete team with Ceren on the pitch. Thankfully, the Copa America break limited the amount of matches he had to sit out of and he’s back in full training with the team.
Most Forgettable Performance:
The opening match of the season, a March 6th clash against Real Salt Lake, was one for Darwin to shove into the back of his mind and move on from. In a game where the Lion’s were down 1-0, although Orlando City was controlling play and up a man after Demar Phillips was sent off, Ceren flew in late on a Salt Lake attacker Javier Morales and when his shoulder made contact with Morales’ face, the referee was forced to send him off.
The challenge was an unnecessary one and Darwin should have known better than to lunge in the way he did. The good news from that play is that since that mistake, Ceren has been one of the most well disciplined players on the team. In the eight games he’s played in since, he’s made 26 successful tackles (3.25 per game), committed only 11 fouls (1.38 per game), and has been shown a yellow card only once (.13 per game). Very impressive numbers considering the position that he plays.
Most Memorable Performance:
In the May 7th match against the New York Red Bulls, Darwin put together one of his best games in purple. He completed an outstanding 47 out of 54 passes, for a passing accuracy percentage of 87.04%. More impressive than that was the 13 out of 14 long passes he completed (92.86%). To top it all off, Ceren earned his first assist of the season when he released Cyle Larin toward goal, where he cut and squared a pass for Kevin Molino to tap in.
All statistics quoted are taken from https://www.whoscored.com/