Is Duncan McGuire Orlando City’s answer to Lionel Messi?


Nebraska-born centre-forward Duncan McGuire has quickly become a prominent figure for Orlando City SC, transitioning from college soccer to the MLS and Leagues Cup in just a year. His outstanding performance at Creighton University, where he was the second-highest scorer at collegiate level last season, earned him a spot in Orlando in December 2022. With an impressive track record, a dynamic style of play, and an upcoming clash against Lionel Messi's Inter Miami CF, we take a look at one of Orlando’s biggest attacking threats and dare to ask whether he is The Lions’ answer to Inter Miami’s 2022 World Cup winner. 

McGuire's journey from the college soccer fields to the professional game has been a quick ascent. Within a year of leaving Creighton University, the young talent established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Major League Soccer and Leagues Cup. Such a rapid rise is a testament to his raw talent, hard work, and commitment.

One of the most striking aspects of McGuire's playstyle is his relentless intensity and work-rate on the field. With a low centre of gravity and a physical presence that poses problems for defenders, McGuire consistently puts pressure on opponents, forcing them into making mistakes. An excellent example of this was during a game against Houston, where his determined pressing led to him intercepting a pass from goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, leaving an open net for McGuire to capitalize on.

McGuire's ability to find the back of the net is another trait that sets him apart. During his time at Creighton University, he proved himself as a prolific scorer, netting an impressive 23 goals in 24 games last season. Since joining Orlando City, he has continued to showcase his prowess, scoring two in Leagues Cup action to add to his current MLS season total of eight. His ability to score crucial goals, like the powerful header against Santos Laguna in the 44th minute, demonstrates his composure and confidence in front of goal.

As McGuire faces Inter Miami CF in the upcoming Leagues Cup 2023 round of 32 clash, a defining moment awaits him. Standing on the opposing side will be none other than Lionel Messi, a living legend in the world of soccer. While comparing McGuire, a young talent still making his mark, to Messi, an icon of the sport, might seem audacious.

The Argentine maestro possesses a unique skill set, mesmerising opponents with his dribbling, vision, and goal-scoring abilities. While McGuire is in the nascent stages of his professional career, his performances indicate that he could be Orlando's answer to the formidable threat posed by Messi.