Orlando City SC took a significant step to solidify its presence in the American soccer scene by announcing the permanent acquisition of Peruvian midfielder Wilder Cartagena. The contract extension, lasting until the 2025 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, represents not just a continuation but a serious commitment to the talent and experience that Cartagena brings to the team.
In a statement, Luiz Muzzi, Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager of Orlando, emphasized the importance of Cartagena's role in recent years. "Wilder has raised the level of our team significantly, bringing a veteran presence to our midfield that has added a lot of strength and prepared us for success last season," Muzzi stated. The executive made it clear that Cartagena's stay was a key part of the club's plans for the upcoming season and beyond, expressing satisfaction in having him back and committed to the team.
Since arriving in Orlando, Cartagena has contributed with three goals and two assists in 41 matches across all competitions. His presence was crucial in winning the US Open Cup in 2022, and he left a lasting memory for fans by scoring a spectacular long-range goal against Nashville SC in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup playoffs.
Beyond his success in the United States, the Peruvian midfielder is a significant figure in his national team, with 29 international appearances. With the ambition to secure a spot in the 2024 Copa America and make a second appearance in the World Cup following his presence in Russia in 2018, Cartagena aims to continue shining both domestically and internationally.
The announcement also highlights Orlando City SC's privileged position, as the club, due to its impressive performance in the last MLS season, secured the second-best record, accumulating 63 points with 18 wins, 7 losses, and 9 draws. The club is gearing up to face even greater challenges, participating in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.
The permanent acquisition of Wilder Cartagena not only strengthens the foundations of Orlando City SC but also raises fans' expectations for future achievements. With a talented and experienced midfielder like Cartagena, the club seems to be on the right path to reach new heights in the American soccer scene.