UPDATE (Aug. 21) – Orlando City SC forward Alexandre Pato will undergo exploratory surgery on his right knee on Sept. 9 in his native Brazil, the club announced Sunday.
A recovery timeline is not immediately available, and the 32-year-old’s initial recovery will also be held in Brazil.
Pato, who got hurt in Orlando’s 1-0 win at the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 13, missed most of the club’s 2021 season due to a knee injury. He recovered, though, to become their third-leading scorer in 2022.
“Pato is an incredible competitor and we’re sad to see him suffer this injury. But we know he will work to get back on the field even stronger,” Luiz Muzzi, Orlando’s EVP of soccer operations and general manager, said in a release. “We’re ready to support and help him in every way necessary through his recovery.”
Alexander Pato injury at New York Red Bulls
ORIGINAL (Aug. 13) – Orlando City SC were dealt a potentially significant injury blow in Saturday night's 1-0 win at the New York Red Bulls, as star forward Alexandre Pato was stretchered off the Red Bull Arena pitch with an apparent leg injury.
The Brazilian went down in the box in the 41st minute, holding his right knee after extending to reach the ball just before halftime, leading to his substitution for Jake Mulraney.
When asked about the 32-year-old's status postgame, head coach Oscar Pareja expressed great concern.
"At this moment, Pato has crutches. He can't walk," Pareja said. "We'll review it. Obviously we don't have a good diagnosis now. Hopefully we'll get him back soon."
Pato has grown into a key player for Orlando during the 2022 campaign, notching three goals and six assists across 22 games (14 starts). That comes after a 2021 season, his first with the Lions, where he played just 106 regular-season minutes across four games (one start) after undergoing knee surgery.
Pato’s latest injury comes at a crucial time for the club, as they’re three-and-a-half weeks out from hosting USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC in the 2022 US Open Cup Final. That game comes with a 2023 Concacaf Champions League ticket, aside from the club's potential first-ever trophy.
In the league, Orlando’s victory at RBNY snapped a five-game winless stretch. They’re immersed in the Eastern Conference’s jam-packed Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race, sitting sixth through Week 25.
At New York, DP winger Facundo Torres' 17th-minute goal was enough to secure Orlando's three road points.
HIGHLIGHTS: New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City SC | August 13, 2022