Alexandre Pato's injury could've changed Orlando's season

Aug 13, 2022; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; Orlando City SC forward Alexandre Pato (7) passes the ball
Aug 13, 2022; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; Orlando City SC forward Alexandre Pato (7) passes the ball / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Jansson may be more important to the team, but the injury that really changed the outlook for Orlando's season was Alexandre Pato. Ironically, the two players were injured in the same game, and the immediate hot streak that came after the injuries suggests that Orlando carried on fine without the two.

But without Pato, Orlando never had the offensive balance to really compete against the best teams in MLS. Outside of Facundo Torres, Pato is the most talented and productive offensive player in the squad. He was a playmaker and a goalscorer, providing the extra layer of class Orlando needed to make big plays

In a game like the playoff loss to Montreal, Pato's touch of class and skill could've gone a long way in sparking an upset for Orlando City. The Lions bowed out of the playoffs due to squandered chances and final third woes.

Pato changes the math in that situation.

Whether as a starter or key reserve, Pato has the talent to change the game and could've been the final spark Orlando needed to break through a susceptible Montreal back line.

There's no guarantee that had Pato played against Montreal or at any point after his injury that he'd have changed the game in a significant way. The Brazilian forward is a notoriously inconsistent player, both in terms of production and availability.

Even this season, Pato had stretches where he was finishing poorly or playing his way out of games. If that's the Pato Orlando got in Montreal, then it really wouldn't have mattered if he was on the pitch or not.

Still though, it's hard not to wonder where Orlando could've been with it's second-best attacking player. Pato is a special talent, especially in MLS where that level of skill and composure is exceedingly rare, and a special player like that is built to deliver in the biggest moments.