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 defender Thomas Williams.
Williams didn't have the type of breakthrough season many hoped for, but the 18-year-old center back did finally play some minutes at the professional level.
The Homegrown played 181 MLS minutes this season, also playing 14 games with the MLS NEXT Pro team. Williams made one start in the US Open Cup, helping the Lions beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the tournament's opening fixture.
In his MLS playing time, Williams was a functional player. He didn't look too out of place as a professional, even if he's far from an impact professional yet. Nothing he did statistically explodes off the page, but his underlying numbers are functional.
He completed just under 88% of his passes and made two combined tackles and interceptions and three clearances per 90 minutes. Nothing spectacular, but statistically not too far from the regular starters along the backline, especially when you consider the context of when Williams played most of his minutes.
Orlando City B was a valuable resource for Williams to get extra playing time, and he produced in his 14 MLS NEXT Pro games. Williams won just under 70% of his headed duels with OCB and close to 56% of all his duels. Both numbers were near the top for OCB.
Williams is a huge piece for Orlando City moving forward. He has some youth national team pedigree and is among the most intriguing academy pieces in Orlando's system. If he can reliably play MLS center back minutes over the next two seasons, he could see a meteoric rise in national attention in the not-so-distant future, while also adding depth in a crucial position for the Lions.