Orlando City’s Resolve and Depth Earn Three Points at Inter Miami CF.
Led by three different goal scorers, Orlando City, after giving up two points at midweek against NYCFC, traveled south to Ft. Lauderdale and earned a hard-fought 3-1 win against Inter Miami FC at DRV PNK Stadium. Here are a five takes from Saturday night’s game:
I have written about my concerns with Designated Players Ercan Kara and Martin Ojeda, but those concerns have been put to rest with their performances in the last few games. Kara, coming of an injury, is showing his willingness to win balls in the air, get into attacking zones fourteen and seventeen, and put his chances on frame. Ojeda, possibly still finding his form with a new country and new team, has now shown us that he is an impact player able to quickly change a match with his technical ability and tactical awareness.
Orlando City, before last night’s game against Inter Miami, had only scored thirteen goals in twelve matches. Hopefully, last night’s three goals, by three different goal scorers, will provide the Lions with more confidence when on the attack. The three goals were all very different, with Ercan Kara fighting off defenders to head in Cesar Araujo’s throw-in, Martin Ojeda coming off the bench and immediately impacting the match with a nice finish off a great flick from Kara, and newcomer Rafael Santos finishing off the game in the 86th minute with a great strike.
Many managers around the world demand that their side have the majority of the ball. “If we have the ball, our opponent cannot score….etc.” Orlando City proved that theory wrong last night as Inter Miami ended the match with 61.1% of possession. Orlando City absorbed whatever pressure Inter Miami could muster, and more importantly took advantage of converting Inter Miami's attacks into counter-attacking, goal-scoring opportunities. You could come away from last night’s match with the term ‘winning ugly’, but Lion’s manager Oscar Pareja scripted a very effective tactical plan minimizing The Herons’ ability to get into Orlando’s defending third.
As Orlando City’s Mauricio Pereyra regains his fitness from an injury, Wilder Cartagena and Cesar Araujo continue to be a massive presence in the midfield. Cartagena’s experience and Araujo’s work rate shined again last night, cutting off passing lanes, winning the majority of 50/50 and second balls, and spreading passes to the flanks that opened up the game. I still contend that Araujo is one of the better box-to-box midfielders in Major League Soccer.
The season continues this Saturday night at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium against former archrival Atlanta United. Atlanta will be missing Caleb Wiley, who is with the USA at the U-20 World Cup, and Luiz Araujo, who will be suspended due to receiving a red card in last night’s game against Chicago. The Atlanta game, which will be played in Orlando’s sweltering heat and humidity, has a great matchup to watch. How will Orlando center backs Robin Jansson and Antonio Carlos deal with Atlanta striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, who after last night’s brace has eight goals in 10 games? All three have great physicality, and we know that Jansson and Antonio Carlos back down to no one. Orlando now sits on nineteen points, good for 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
Gary Levitt @gary11123 justmytake.net
Photo credit: The Miami Herald