Replacing Nani was always going to be a difficult task for Orlando City.
The Portuguese superstar found a new lease on life in Major League Soccer, scoring 28 regular season goals for the Lions. As captain, Nani helped breathe life into a woeful organization and helped spearhead the rebuild under Oscar Pareja and Luiz Muzzi.
After Nani left the club in the offseason, Orlando needed to find somebody capable of breaking open games and being a true superstar forward. Muzzi and the scouting department pegged young Uruguayan Facundo Torres as that man.
Torres came it with a hefty price tag and healthy expectations. Through the first half of the season, he produced in spurts, occasionally scoring a goal or flashing his terrific skill, but he couldn't quite match the level of quality or production of his predecessor.
If Torres had continued at that pace, that'd have been fine albeit underwhelming. As a 22-year-old moving to a new country, an inconsistent but promising season would've been a decent start to life in Orlando.
Instead, El Cuervo decided to go supernova.
Since the month of July, Torres is not only far and away Orlando City's best player, but one of the best players in the entire league. He had three goals and two assists across the semi-finals and finals of the US Open Cup to secure the club's first ever trophy. In league play, he's been sensational, putting up a goal or assist seemingly every single game.
Per FotMob's ratings, Torres has been man of the match in five of his last seven matches, including four straight towards the end of August. He now has seven goals and seven assists in over 2,300 minutes played.
Some of his underlying stats, mostly expected goals and expected assists, are lackluster, but most of his other metrics in possession and with the ball are quite strong. And of course he's making the plays Orlando needs from its most expensive signing in history.
It took a few months for Torres to settle into Orlando and MLS, but this summer, El Cuervo has spread his wings and started to fly. If he can work his way back onto the Uruguayan National Team before the World Cup, who knows what the future holds for Torres. There is no ceiling on him and the Lions will go as far as he can take them.