Finding the role for new DP Martín Ojeda
Orlando City made the signing of Argentine attacker Martín Ojeda official Saturday after reports of the new Designated Player signing broke Dec. 21. The 24-year-old arrives in Orlando after blossoming into one of the premier creative players in Argentina and captaining Godoy Cruz.
The Lions were able to snap up the Argentine star for just $4 million per reports from South American transfer guru César Luis Merlo.
The creative winger scored six goals and provided nine assists in 27 league games in 2022, providing the bulk of creative output for an underwhelming Godoy Cruz side. Ojeda joins Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres and Austrian striker Ercan Kara as DPs for the Lions.
Ojeda is an immensely talented player and a coup of a signing for Orlando City. Where he fits in this team isn't entirely sure yet.
With a player of this talent, fit doesn't really matter. But the fit, while uncertain, is beaming with potential.
For the entirety of last season, Orlando failed to find a winger capable of producing opposite Torres. While the Uruguayan sensation more than delivered in his first MLS campaign, the revolving door of Silvester van der Water, Benji Michel, Jake Mulraney and others never did.
With Ojeda, head coach Oscar Pareja has the type of dynamic playmaker to take the creative burden off of Torres and provide balance to Orlando's attacking structure.
While he's primarily a winger, Ojeda could potentially play through the middle as a No. 10. Orlando re-signed captain Mauricio Pereyra, but the 32-year-old attacking midfielder has struggled with injures and showed signs of slowing down over the last two seasons.
Not only could Ojeda spell the aging Pereyra, he could also play in midfield alongside the Uruguayan, allowing Orlando to play an extremely offense heavy midfield ahead of the tenacious César Araújo.
Orlando City desperately needed to add another elite attacking talent, and Ojeda easily projects as that type of playmaker for the Lions. Last season, he led the league in expected assists and finished third in expected goals according to Evan Weston.
With underlying metrics like that, Ojeda could not only match his production in Argentine, but he could potentially blossom into the Best XI caliber superstar capable of leading Orlando City to the top of the MLS ecosystem.