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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Austin FC (h). Rampant Orlando Finally Get Off The Mark.

This was as resounding and comprehensive a win as Orlando City have had all season in MLS... OK, it was our first win, I'm just excited OK?

In all seriousness, this was a completely dominant performance from Oscar Pareja's team, who never allowed the Texans into the game at any stage.

Truthfully, it could, and should, have been a much clearer margin of victory.

Still, that Orlando managed to get the victory, is really all that matters at this stage. They are off and running.

Orlando were more like their old selves in this game. Question marks were raised when Kyle Smith started in midfield again, but to his Credit he performed well in his new role. Orlando were on the front foot for the entire game. Orlando's XG of 1.81 to 0.13 says it all.

This was a truly dominant performance, minus several key players. It was just what the doctor ordered after the debacle of the last few weeks. A win over the Red Bulls next week (with yours truly in attendance), would make the whole picture seem a heck of a lot rosier.

The performance of Nico Lodeiro

This was the performance we have been waiting for from the Uruguayan. He's not been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but this was the first game where he really took the match by the scruff of the neck and said 'we are winning this game. No excuses'. He covered every blade of grass (figure 1). He dominated the midfield and was truly rewarded for his display with that excellent free-kick, which wrapped up the win for Orlando.

He was just at the centre of everything; he had 6 shots, 1 goal, 1 chance created, 70 touches, 4 touches in the opposition box, 10 passes into the final third and an 87% pass completion rate. It was almost a complete performance for the experienced former Seattle Sounders man.

I was a big fan of Mauricio Pereyra during his time in Orlando. But he never scored enough goals or contributed enough in the way of assists. Lodeiro has 1 goal already, and has been unlucky to not get 1 or 2 more. He might not be off the mark with assists, but with a 1.24 XA from 4 chances created that's just as much down to his teammates as it is down to him.

Figure 1 shows Lodeiro's heat map, whole 90.

Orlando were direct... And it was effective

Austin were very passive in their passing, never really probing Orlando as they played a large portion of their passes in front of Orlando's defensive line, never really getting in behind and stretching the defence (figure 2). They only played 1 key pass in the entire game.

Orlando were much more lateral in their passing and got into a lot more dangerous attacking positions than Austin did. Orlando played 15 key passes in the game and dwarfed Austin in every major attacking statistic (figure 3). Austin looked rudderless, whilst Orlando had clear conviction in their play. They looked a team with a point to prove, with many of the so-called 'fringe' players staking a claim for a starting berth. Jack Lynn, Martín Ojeda and Kyle Smith all did their starting chances the world of good moving forward.

Ultimately, Orlando knew they had the beating of Austin. And they looked a lot more like the team they were at the end of last season, and the team that were being talked about as one of the favourites for MLS Cup. They have yet to fully hit their stride, but this was a huge step in the right direction.

Figure 2 is a pass positioning matrix for Austin, whole 90.

Figure 3 shows the attacking statistics for both teams.

Top player

Dagur Dan Þórhallsson

I thought Dagur Dan was outstanding. He was a constant option on the right-wing. He, again, displayed what a tremendous engine he has, getting up and down the pitch astoundingly well. I thought he was terrific. His cross for the first goal was sublime. He put it on a platter for Lynn, who couldn't have dreamed of an easier chance to score his first MLS goal.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Stajduhar -6- Could have lit a cigar.

Þórhallsson -9- Tremendous performance.

Schlegel -7- Didn't have much to do.

Jansson -7- Not the hardest match he'll ever play in

Rafael Santos -8- Got up and down well.

Smith -7- Worked hard and looked more comfortable this week.

Lodeiro -8- Superb.

Angulo -8- Had a fun night.

Ojeda -8- Looksed good.

Muriel -7- Lively.

Lynn -8- Great first start.


Felipe -7- Added experience late on.

Kocevski -6- Too late to really make an impact.

Halliday -6- As above.

Mohammed -6- Same.


Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja

"After difficult weeks, the boys always held on to the belief that we had good preparation that has to happen before even without having a result. But today was complete. We had a good performance and we had players just getting closer to their best performance. But we got the result. We scored goals, we had volume, we had the initiative to play the way we are. We controlled a team that had a lot of speed, especially in the flanks. So, we’re happy. Congratulations to the footballers, happy to see them enjoy the game and result.” 

*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob and

Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Media availability and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.


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