2022 Orlando City Player Reviews: Ercan Kara

Oct 16, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Orlando City forward Ercan Kara (9) and CF Montreal defender
Oct 16, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Orlando City forward Ercan Kara (9) and CF Montreal defender / Eric Bolte-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 first-year Designated Player Ercan Kara.

It feels like this is the hundredth article recapping and reviewing Kara's debut season in Orlando, so this will be fairly concise.

Kara had a decent but unspectacular debut campaign in MLS. The Austrian forward scored 11 goals and picked up three assists in 1,776 league minutes, good for 0.71 combined goals and assists per 90 minutes. Kara also scored one goal in four US Open Cup games.

That's a perfectly solid return for a starting striker in Major League Soccer, but not an All-Star or Best XI return. Kara also had long stretches within games where his impact was almost non-existent, with limited hold-up play or pressing that impacted matches.

When Orlando's offense dried up in the middle of the season, Oscar Pareja made the decision to bench Kara for Benji Michel, and for a time that move provided a needed spark, especially in the Open Cup.

It's understandable that fans or media were unimpressed with Kara's first Orlando City season, but it's a respectable debut and fairly in line with his career production in Austria. He faded during the middle of the season, but that's a common trend for European signings in their first MLS seasons.

With a full offseason and training camp, Kara could be more fit and energized for a full league season. If the entire offensive structure can create more chances in the box, the former Rapid Vienna striker could be prolific.

When Kara was signed in the offseason, the club fully committed to the Austrian striker. He signed a three-year DP contract with two additional club option years. With that context, Orlando is still committed to getting the best out of it's No. 9 moving forward, and after a respectable debut campaign there's no reason not to.