Rookie Duncan McGuire and Veteran Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese Keep Orlando City Undefeated Through Three Games.
Playing their third match in a week, and with the massive CCL game with Tigres on Wednesday night, Orlando City came away from the nation's capital with a 1-1 draw. Here are my takeaways from Saturday night's match:
I realize that I have mentioned more than once how the efforts of Orlando City's EVP of Soccer Operations, Luiz Muzzi, have already paid dividends, but after last night it is relevant to again praise how he has created a deep player pool. Orlando City traveled to D.C. one day after their 0-0 draw with Tigres in Monterrey, Mexico. Facing their third match in a week, and with the CCL return match with Tigres at Orlando's Exploria Stadium on Wednesday, manager Oscar Pareja was able to rotate five starters against D.C. The reality is that even with five new starters, the quality stays relatively consistent. The player pool will go a long way this season, not only with the regular season schedule, but with the Champions League, Leagues Cup, and U.S. Open Cup.
Kudos to Duncan McGuire. The rookie from Creighton University showed why Muzzi drafted him, with his hold up play and tireless work rate. McGuire's first ever professional goal came from a great cross by Kyle Smith and off the head of Dagur 'Dan' Thórhallsson, who played in the ball to McGuire for a tap-in goal. Orlando City, who last year wondered who could play upfront other than Ercan Kara, now have options with Kara, McGuire, and Ramiro Enrique.
Speaking of Dagur 'Dan' Thórhallsson, Oscar Pareja is going to have a difficult time keeping him out of the starting lineup. Thórhallsson, through three games, has shown his high level of fitness, willingness to be a box-to-box player, and tremendous pace with the ball. He is and will become a very important versatile option for Orlando City as they progress through the long season.
Orlando City sits on five points and seventh place after three games. They have played well, showing off their deep and versatile player pool, with the only concern being that they have only scored one goal in the run of play through four matches (three MLS and one CCL). This goal-scoring drought will correct itself as OCSC has too many front-running weapons including Kara, Enrique, McGuire, Facundo Torres, and Martín Ojeda. All of this player rotation aligns itself with Wednesday night's match with Tigres, which should have Exploria Stadium rocking and loud.
Gary Levitt @gary1123 justmytake.net
Photo credit: Orlando City Soccer Club