2015 in Review Day 19: Cristian Higuita

Colombian midfielder Cristian Higuita was a prominent feature in the Orlando City lineup throughout most of the season. He was an extremely active player all over the pitch for Orlando City, and became a fan favorite for his physical play style and hard-charging attitude that made it clear he was leaving nothing on the field after every match.

Cristian Higuita headshot (c) MLS.com; MLS.com retains all copyright to this image.
StatisticValueStatisticValue
Games Played26Shots12
Games Started25Shots on Goal1
Goals1Offsides0
Minutes2228Yellow Cards10
Assists2Red Cards1

2015 Summary: While I really enjoyed watching Higuita fly across the field like a Colombian lightning bolt, one thing I was a little distressed about was his tendency to let his emotions get the better of him. He was called for 73 fouls on the season, which is near the top of the list for all of Orlando City players. He also had 10 yellow cards on the season, and I believe that at least two or three of those resulted from him arguing with the referee after being called for a foul. Now I was as critical as any Orlando City fan of the poor and inconsistent referees we saw in MLS in 2015, so I can't blame Higuita for being frustrated at some of those calls. All the same, the chances are that if you give the referee a hard time, he's more likely to penalize you more often than if you just turn around and walk away quietly. All the same, I'm fully aware that without the passion that got him in so much trouble with officials, Higuita would not be as exciting and aggressive and energetic in the field of play, so I wouldn't ask him to change it.

2016 Prediction: Higuita is one of those players I really don't know about. He brings a spark of energy to the team to be sure, but I would say it's about even odds that he would wind up being traded to another MLS side or returning to the Orlando City first team next year. I think it's going to depend on whether the current leadership (which now includes new Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro) is going to want to continue with a younger roster that grows with the team, or if they want to try to bring in more veteran players to try to make a faster push for the playoffs.

What do you think about Higuita? Do you appreciate his aggressive and combative play style or do you wish he would tone it down a bit? Do you expect to see him back in purple next season or do you think he'll be traded elsewhere? Let me know in the comments.