2022 Orlando City Player Reviews: Benji Michel

Jul 27, 2022; Orlando, Florida, US;   Orlando City forward Benji Michel (19) reacts after scoring a
Jul 27, 2022; Orlando, Florida, US; Orlando City forward Benji Michel (19) reacts after scoring a / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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 homegrown hero Benji Michel.

Michel didn't have a breakthrough season in 2022, but the forward made him mark in one legendary tournament run. Orlando's homegrown striker started playing up top instead of Ercan Kara, and that move propelled the Lions to the US Open Cup final.

In the semifinal against the New York Red Bulls, Michel ripped apart the backline and torched the Red Bulls to push the Lions through to the final. In that cup final against the Sacramento Republic, Michel's work ethic and athleticism broke through the USL Cinderellas and helped his hometown team win its first major trophy.

Michel finished the US Open Cup run with two goals and five assists in just four games, an absolutely torrid pace that played a massive role in leading the Lions to silverware.

However, despite an amazing cup run, Michel did next to nothing in league play. He scored just one goal --- in the first game of the season --- in 1,504 minutes in MLS play. Michel lacked production and his underlying numbers were average at best across the board.

He brought a different dimension to the field playing as a true striker as opposed to a winger, but even then Michel didn't actually produce anything in the way of goals of assists.

Michel is always going to be a beloved figure in Orlando as the team's first homegrown to make an impact at the professional level and for legendary moments in the US Open Cup victory. Despite his cult hero status, his future in Orlando is uncertain.

His contract expires this winter and at 25, it's tough to say what's next for the former US youth international.