I am one of the few people in the Orlando City world still hung up about Chris Mueller, but he's an interesting player to discuss and as my former favorite Lion of all time, he holds a special place in my Orlando City history.
I've written at length about Orlando's issue in the final third and especially on the wing. There's been several faces to come in and out of the squad to fill that position, but nobody matches up to the player they were tasked to replace, Chris Mueller.
After his failed experiment in Scotland, Orlando finally got a good return for Mueller as he came back to MLS and joined the Chicago Fire. That's a team in a weird place right now, but since the Money Badger came back stateside, he's lit a fire (ha) in the squad and helped them back into playoff contention.
Mueller has 3 goals and 3 assists in just over 1,000 minutes this season in Chicago but his impact goes beyond the stat sheet. He's the exact type of winger the Fire needed, capable of stretching a backline with his pace and dribbling while providing enough quality to create and finish chances.
Against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Mueller won the game for Chicago, whipping in an excellent cross for an assist and scoring a peach of a curler to put the match away. His spark, energy and technical ability are exactly what Orlando's missing right now.
This version of Mueller, the one that made it on the fringes of the USMNT and made waves in Orlando during the heat of the pandemic, has never been properly replaced by the Lions. Silvester van der Water never settled in the squad and Jake Mulraney is, right now at least, a much worse version of Mueller.
I don't want to open old wounds and I know a certain section of the Orlando City fanbase will rip this column apart if they find it, but when I look at the Windy City and see our former club hero providing exactly what the Lions need I can't help but be sad.