For the next week, I'll be recapping each Orlando City player's season for all player who played at least 100 MLS minutes per FBRef in 2022, starting from the least used player to the most used.
Up next is former Brazilian wunderkind Alexandre Pato.
This is by far the saddest season review to write. Pato was sensational when he was healthy, and he started the season as one of the better attacking players in the league. His skill and creativity made him a perfect fit in Orlando's lineup and he produced, scoring five goals and adding three assists.
Pato slowed down at times throughout the season, but he was still a key player in Orlando's attack. In August, he went down injured against the New York Red Bulls and was forced to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
It's a heartbreaking and all-too-familiar story with Pato, a player who possessed unlimited potential but has never been able to stay healthy at any level he's played at. He missed the entire season his first year in Orlando, and only played 1,196 minutes this season.
In those minutes, he was still one of Orlando's best creative players, playing as a striker or narrow winger. He led the team in combined expected goals and assists per 90 minutes with 0.53 and was second in the squad in combined actual goals and assists per 90 minutes with 0.6.
Pato finished the year second on the team in both shots per 90 (2.93) and key passes per 90 (2.03).
Any way you look at it, whether it's breaking down the film or looking at the numbers, Pato was an exceptional piece of Orlando City's attack before he got injured. If he had been able to stay healthy, maybe Orlando goes even further in the MLS Cup playoffs or even hosts a home game.
Pato's contract expires at the end of this season, and it's hard to say what Orlando does next. If he can come back on a similarly cheap contract to his current deal, might as well bring him back on the off-chance he can stay healthy and be a difference maker.
Aside from his production, he also seems to be a delightful part of the Orlando City community and brings a lot of positivity to the club and the city. He seems like such a perfect fit for the team, and if he's interested, hopefully the club can bring him back for another spin.