2022 Orlando City Player Reviews: Wilder Cartagena
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 Peruvian defensive midfielder Wilder Cartagena.
Cartagena joined Orlando City in the summer to provide depth in midfield after trading Sebas Mendez to Los Angeles FC. The Peruvian international arrived with decent pedigree, playing at a good level in South America and making appearances with his national team.
Once arriving in MLS, Caragena filled his role as a depth midfielder. He wasn't expected to play much of a role, and he didn't. The Peruvian played 331 MLS minutes and played one match in the Open Cup, as well as an appearance in MLS NEXT Pro.
Despite the limited playing time, he was an active presence defensively with a team-high 5.41 combined tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes. While not a dynamic passer, he was largely effective completing just under 86% of his passes and adding a pair of of key passes.
Cartagena also averaged 4.05 proggressive passes per 90, almost identical to starting midfielder César Araújo.
The Peruvian midfielder also scored one goal in purple, coming in his lone MLS NEXT Pro game for Orlando City B.
Cartagena is currently on loan from his parent club Al-Ittihad Kalba SC of the United Arab Emirates, but Orlando has the option to bring him back for another year on loan. Assuming the financials work (he's currently making a base salary of $240,000 per the MLSPA), the Lions would be foolish not to bring back the defensive midfielder.
In his limited action, he looked like a capable starting defensive midfielder in MLS and provides experience and depth behind Araújo. If he were to come back, he'd be an incredibly valuable squad player for Orlando City.