Junior Urso Providing Needed Goal Threat

Mar 27, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA;  Orlando City SC midfielder Junior Urso (11) celebrates after
Mar 27, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Orlando City SC midfielder Junior Urso (11) celebrates after / Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Take a guess who Orlando City's leading scorer is after five games. You, reader, are smart and can probably assume based off the title of this post that it's Junior Urso, and that assumption would be right.

The veteran Brazilian midfielder is the only Lion with two goals, and he would have three if VAR didn't VAR in Chicago. His early goalscoring form has provided a necessary lifeline for a largely lifeless Lion attack in the early going, and shows his best value as a box-to-box midfielder.

Urso is not a dominant defensive presence and he doesn't have the on-ball ability to dictate a game from midfield. He's functional at those things, but he's close to league average. Where the Bear really excels is getting forward.

Using the FBref 365 day percentiles, the big chart on the left if you click the link, you can see that Urso is among the better MLS midfielders at getting into the box, getting more shots and goals. We've also seen this season that Urso can also get forward defensively, serving as a leading presser when Orlando gets aggressive in the press.

That high-line of pressing lead to the Lion's second goal against CF Montreal in the opener and is providing a valuable source of chances as the possession play continues to be a work in progress.

In the preseason, I was quick to cast off Junior Urso. The Bear is now 33 and with Andres Perea, Sebas Mendez and now César Araújo, I assumed the young core would take over in midfield. But with Perea's early struggles and Araújo being more of a true defensive midfielder than I thought, Urso is continuing to earn heavy minutes and is an indispensable part of the team right now.

Perea is the future, or at least you hope he's the future, so eventually Urso won't be the key cog at the No. 8 position, but as of now, the goalscoring Bear is beasting in the middle for Orlando City.