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Orlando City Salvages a Point with NYRB.

Updated: Apr 2

A Rough Night for the Lions at INTER&Co. Stadium

 

On a Chamber of Commerce-type evening in front of a capacity crowd, Orlando City put in a puzzling but tough ninety-minutes against an in-form New York Red Bulls. The Lions, through six games, sit on five points in the tough Eastern Conference. A few short takes from last night's game:


  • A bye week could not come at a better time for Orlando. While manager Oscar Pereja has had to deal with a schedule that has included CONCACAF Champions Cup matches as well as international callups, the week off will hopefully allow Pereja and his staff to sort through a few tactical issues. The most glaring being the product in the final third, with players making poor decisions leading to poor passing, service, and way too many turnovers.

  • When you dominate possession (61.8%) and double the number of passes and shots of your opponent, but have only three shots on goal, the final third product must be suffering...and it is. Sixteen crosses led to the tying own goal, but the other fifteen resulted in a poor service or not enough Orlando players available in the box. Orlando's Expected Goals (xG) rate of 0.8 is mystifying to say the least.

  • It is time for Oscar Pereja to clearly define Luis Muriel's role and responsibility. Over the last three games it is clear that the talented striker is pressing and simply trying to do too much. Is Muriel an attacking midfielder or a false nine? Does he belong on top, and if so, do you pair him with or replace the work rate of Duncan McGuire? In last night's game, Muriel's xG was 0.07 - an alarming number. If something is not working, doing the same thing over and over again without a result is insanity.

  • Orlando's designated players are Muriel, Facundo Torres, and Martin Ojeda. Three players that are counted on to carry this team and impose their will game in, and game out. While Ojeda has shown his quality, he only saw twenty-four minutes of action last night. Torres went ninety-minutes but disappeared for much of last night's match. As discussed, Muriel's outing last night was poor. Three DP's not exactly providing impact and quality for the Lions.

  • On the bright side, Orlando's defensive stance, even with Rafael Santos' bizarre defending and giveaways, kept a strong NYRB side to one goal on a penalty. Thankfully, Robin Jansson again showed why he is one of the better central defenders in Major League Soccer.

 


A week off and the tandem central midfielders of Wilder Cartagena and Cesar Araujo back in the fold should allow Oscar Pareja, as he has done previously, to get Orlando City back on the track and heading in the right direction. If I was Pareja, my number one initiative, in order to correct the final third dilemma, is to sort out where and how to play Luis Muriel. I am not suggesting that Pareja change the shape of his side.... or am I?



Gary Levitt @gary1123            www.justmytake.net

 

photo credit: Mark Thor / Orlando City Soccer Club


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