Duncan McGuire (Orlando City) – Scout Report

Duncan McGuire is a 22-year-old striker who plays for Orlando City. This is McGuire’s first season of professional football, drafted out of the NCAA from Creighton University. He has gotten off to an incredible start to his professional career with 10 goals and 2 assists in less than 1200 minutes so far. He even displaced Designated Player Ercan Kara as Orlando’s first-choice striker.

McGuire is almost like a parody of an American striker. He’s an incredible athlete but his technical skills are limited. But, to McGuire’s credit, he’s the platonic ideal of that sort of player. He is a real danger in transition with the speed to get behind defences and the strength to hold off any player that might catch up with him. The one bit of footballing skill he has in abundance is off-the-ball movement. He makes intelligent runs and is very good at popping up in the box unmarked. McGuire’s speed can make him a useful presser. He has a really great vertical leap which allows him to score a lot of headed goals. However, his aerial ability overall is a little disappointing for a player with his physical profile. McGuire is 6’0, strong, and is a good jumper but most of his headed goals are because he evaded markers with his movement, not because he beat another player in a duel. Still, his skillset makes him an absolute menace in the box or in transition.

The tradeoff is everything else. McGuire’s passing ability is very limited. He has racked up a lot of xA but that’s mostly a function of his effectiveness in the box, not an indication of the ability to play a defence-splitting pass. Other than making short-range passes after receiving the ball in the box. he isn’t doing much other than simple layoffs. As I mentioned, he is surprisingly poor in contested aerial battles so he can’t really play as a target man despite his physical profile. His dribbling is also quite poor. His first touch is actually not bad but that doesn’t do much for helping him beat defenders.

McGuire’s limitations probably preclude him from ever making it to the top-5 leagues. At 22 it’s probably too late for him to make major improvements in this area of his game. But his overall effectiveness is hard to deny. So I think he could have a future at a top club outside the top-5. But, buyer beware, he has a very specific set of skills and he is unlikely to do well in a role that does not emphasize those skills.

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