Orlando's secret weapon: Gaston Gonzalez

Racing Club v Union - Copa de la Liga 2022
Racing Club v Union - Copa de la Liga 2022 / Rodrigo Valle/GettyImages

Orlando City was supposed to receive a massive jolt in the summer transfer window with the U-22 signing of Argentine winger Gastón González from Unión de Santa Fe. However, in his last game in his home country, he blew out his knee and would miss the entire 2022 season for Orlando City.

Without González, the Lions added several other wingers to provide the supplemental offensive spark they wanted from their young Argentine playmaker. And this season could've gone very differently for Orlando City had González stayed healthy and made his debut in MLS.

There's no guarantees with young players, especially moving to new leagues, but González looked like a premium prospect in South America. His 2022 season in Argentina was disappointing with just one goal and no assists in over 1,000 minutes, but the year before he was sensational.

González scored five goals and added seven assists in 1,431 minutes in the top league in Argentina. His combined goals and assists per 90 rate of 0.75 under 22 years old had him looking like a potentially elite player in MLS.

The injury to his knee changed that trajectory, at least for now.

Next season, González could be a massive difference maker for Orlando City. Maybe he won't be another Facundo Torres or anything to that extent, but if he can finally fill the shoes of Chris Mueller as a supplemental offensive weapon, that adds a massive dimension to what Orlando City can do.

Especially with his pace and ability to be a goal scorer from the wing, González adds a dimension that doesn't really exist within the current group. His ability might be the biggest thing missing piece in Orlando's disjointed attacking set-up.

If he can return to the player he was in Argentina and continue his development under Oscar Pareja, then Orlando City will have another massive ace in the hole for the 2023 MLS season.