Saturday afternoon Orlando area journalist Mike Gramajo tweeted news about Cam Lindley injuring a hamstring in the preseason match against Minnesota United FC. This now means two Orlando City players have been injured in preseason. Lindley joins Josue Colman on the injured list. During training camp, Colman suffered a quadriceps contusion, and Coach Jason Kreis has stated this injury might be more severe than initially suspected. Fans of the Orlando Pride will recall that a similar quadriceps injury caused Ashlyn Harris to miss part or all of 12 matches in 2017.
The news about more injuries for Orlando City's MLS side before the team has even taken the pitch for a live game brings up memories of the past three seasons. I went on a bit of an archive safari today, digging through Orlando Sentinel reports from 2015 beat writer Paul Tenorio to see just how many Orlando City players were sidelined with an injury, and how many of those injuries were hamstrings.
Researching the Data
The news was both more and less alarming than I suspected. My exploration turned into a deep dive in the rabbit hole, so I have not yet repeated it for 2016 and 2017, but as a fan, it feels like I would find about the same set of statistics each year of the club's MLS existence.
I would be very curious to know how the rate of injury and the number of matches missed for Orlando City over the past three seasons compares to other clubs in MLS. Perhaps some of the injuries in 2015 and 2016 can be attributed to playing on the artificial turf surface at the venue formerly known as the Citrus Bowl.
I've put the data in a table below, but the Cliff Notes indicate that 15 players on Orlando City's 2015 roster missed 118 matches due to injury, and over 25% of those injuries were hamstring injuries. This data was compiled from searching Orlando Sentinel archives on newspapers.com and cross-referencing this with injury information reported on transfermarkt.co.uk, which tracks career and injury information for footballers in leagues around the world. Having played MLS fantasy soccer the last several seasons to try to learn more of the players in the league, I can tell you that their weekly injury report is often seriously flawed, and I find that outlets like the Orlando Sentinel beat writer Alicia Del Gallo (now with ProSoccerUSA.com) and FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio often have much more accurate reporting on
Having injuries to 15 players (essentially half the roster) and missing over 100 total matches with injury seems high to me. But perhaps this is not unusual for MLS teams. I'm going to see if I can do some more digging this week and determine if Orlando City's rate of injuries is indeed higher than other clubs over the same period. Other than some sort of self-satisfaction of proving my notion right, I'm not really sure how that can help make things better. And to me, that's really what I want to see from this club: I want this injury situation to get better. I'm tired of having a roster that misses so many matches due to injury and the resulting shifting lineups causing us to drop points and miss the playoffs.
So watch this space the rest of the week. Perhaps I'll find something that confirms whether Orlando City's injury rate is way out of line with other clubs in MLS. If that uneasy feeling proves to be true, then it will be up to those in a position to actually make a change in the club to do something about it so we fans don't have to suffer with this same nonsense season after season.
Details of 2015 Injuries
|Cristian Higuita||Groin / Concussion||2|
|Tally Hall||Knee / Meniscus||11|
|Seb Hines||Quad / Shoulder||1|