With the impending signing of Nico Gioacchini from SM Caen in France, Orlando City will hopefully solve one of its biggest lineup crises: an opposite side winger.
Young Designated Player Facundo Torres is a lock on one flank, providing dazzling moments of quality in his first MLS season. Some may argue it's been an underwhelming start for the club's record signing, but four goals, four assists and 0.47 goals and assists per 90 minutes are decent stats for a 22 year old in his first league season.
The opposite wing, however, is a revolving door of underperformance.
After losing winger Chris Mueller in the offseason, it looked like Dutch forward Silvester van der Water would fill on the flank, but after just 41 minutes of league action in 2022, he's back in Holland. Homegrown Benji Michel is a consistent piece of the squad, but just one goal in 18 appearances is not good enough production for a starter.
The club wanted to address this hole by bringing in U22 signing Gaston Gonzalez, but a serious knee injury in his final game in Argentina delayed his arrival to MLS pitches. To fill that void, Orlando brought in Jake Mulraney in a trade with Atlanta United.
The Irishman is a decent squad player who provides badly needed energy and a crossing threat, but he's yet to score or provide an assist in just over 600 minutes. The only player who's provided any real production opposite Torres has been an out of position Alexandre Pato, who's put up seven combined goals and assists playing a whole host of roles for the Lions.
This brings us to the Gioacchini signing.
The young American is, in theory, a goal dangerous wide forward, the exact profile of winger Orlando could use. With Ruan and Torres providing width, Gioacchini can become a secondary scoring threat to bolster Ercan Kara in the box.
While the creative numbers from the wings haven't been great, I'd argue that Orlando really just needs more goal dangerous players, especially since Mauricio Pereyra presents next to no scoring threat from midfield. Getting a player like Gioacchini should fill this threat.
Whether it's improved form from Mulraney and Michel, or the arrival of Gioacchini, the Lions are in desperate need of winger production, and with the playoff push around the corner, they need it now.