Orlando City 2023 MLS season preview: Tactics, predicted XI, predictions

With silverware in the bank, Orlando City head into the 2023 season looking to make a big impression.

The Lions won their first trophy as an MLS club last year, going all the way in the US Open Cup and, in the process, sealing Concacaf Champions League qualification.

Now, Oscar Pareja and his players will be eyeing up further success , though it’ll be tough with such a competitive field.

So, here’s everything you need to know about Orlando City ahead of the new MLS season, including tactics, key players, and predictions.

Transfers in


Former Club


Martin Ojeda

Godoy Cruz


Ramiro Enrique



Luca Petrasso

Toronto FC


Felipe Martins

Austin FC

Free transfer

Luis Grassow

UK Wildcats


Abdi Salim



Shak Mohammed

Blue Devils


Duncan McGuire

CU Bluejays


Rafael Santos



Dagur Dan Thorhallson



Transfers out


Club Joined


Andres Perea

Philadelphia Union



DC United

Free transfer

Benji Michel


Free transfer

Joao Moutinho


Free transfer

Junior Urso

Coritiba FC

Free transfer

Nicholas Gioacchini

St. Louis CITY SC

Expansion Draft

Alexander Alvarado

LDU Quito


Jake Mulraney

St. Pat’s


Alexandre Pato


Tesho Akindele


Joey DeZart


Luis Grassow


As usual, Oscar Pareja set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, sitting back and soaking up pressure before hitting opponents on the counter.

There were some interesting changes, such as dropping Mauricio Pereyra further into the midfield to try and make the Lions a little more secure on the ball further back.

But on the whole, 2022 felt very much like Pareja making his side as functional as possible, then hoping an elite talent like Facundo Torres can crack the game open.

Orlando City predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Smith, Carlos, Jansson, Santos; Araujo, Cartagena; Torres, Pereyra, Ojeda; Kara.

Facundo Torres is among the most exciting talents in MLS.

Facundo Torres is among the most exciting talents in MLS. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Facundo Torres

Facundo Torres enjoyed a stellar debut year in the United States last season, hitting 13 goals and 10 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions and topping out among Orlando players in a number of key attacking metrics.

In fact, so impressive were the 22-year-old’s exploits that he even earned a spot on Uruguay’s World Cup roster and drew serious transfer interest from Premier League giants Arsenal.

As such, Torres is not going to be around in Major League Soccer for long. However, sit back and enjoy as he takes the opposition to task and gives his very best in a bid to secure that European move. If he does enough to do that, Orlando have a chance of doing something special.

Orlando have strengthened considerably in forward areas with the signings of Martin Ojeda and Ramiro Enrique – the former the long-term replacement for Torres and the latter likely to back up Ercan Kara. While all those pieces are together, they could be an attacking machine.

However, in midfield and defense, you could easily argue they’ve regressed somewhat.

That’ll leave the Lions vulnerable across the course of the regular season and even with nine Playoffs spots to play for, it’s not difficult to pick enough teams with more balanced rosters to push them below the line.

The Concacaf Champions League, however? Well, with difference-makers like Torres, Ojeda, and Kara, it’s easy to see them making a deep run.

Will Orlando City qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs? No