Analysis: CF Montréal (a). Familiar Frailties Arise After OC Fail To Convert First-Half Dominance.
This was a frustrating game to watch. Not necessarily because Orlando City were particularly bad; there was a very definite drop off in the second half; Orlando played some of their best soccer of the season in the first 45. They were on the front foot, moving the ball about quickly. They genuinely looked a threat.
Then the own-goal happened. And... It all fell apart, just like The Clone Wars pre-Disney.
Let's be honest, the own-goal was desperately unlucky; 9 times out of 10 that shot deflects wide and goes for a corner. That goal took all of the wind out of City's sails. When Romell Quioto added one a few minutes later, the game was over as a contest.
Orlando never looked like coming back into the game. And that has to be a concern.
Orlando's current form reads as W-L-W-L-W-L. The very definition of inconsistent. There are some among the fan base that would have you believe everything is all gardens and roses. And whilst our current malaise is far from a crisis, it's far removed from where we all want to be. I can't see this team winning anything this year, as it stands.
A game of two halves
This was your classic game of two halves, as the numbers will testify. In the first 45 Orlando had 8 shots at goal and enjoyed 58.2% of the possession. In the second half, at least for me, it was less about Montréal being better and more about how we dropped off. As I've already stated, the first goal seemed to knock us and we only mustered 5 more attempts (figure 1) and had considerably less possession at 51.5%.
In the second half the Lion's passing was slow, laboured and a little predictable. There are two examples of this in figures 2 and 3. I'm not showing these clips to point the finger at any player in particular, it's more just to emphasise the general malaise that descended on the team in the second period.
Yes there were plenty of positives to take from the first half, but this is an unforgiving league. And if you don't put together a complete and consistent performance, this can certainly happen.
Figure 1 shows where Orlando's second half attempts came from.
Figure 2 is a clip from the second half.
Figure 3 is a clip from the second half.
We don't look capable of putting a complete performance together
At risk of sounding like a broken record, we just aren't a consistently good side. And I'm not talking consistency in terms of series of matches. I'm talking about in game. The wins in Philadelphia and Minnesota were positive performances on the whole, as was the win over the Galaxy. But when was the last time we played a game where we dominated the entire game from start to finish? Toronto last season? The cup final?
We spent big in the off season, upgraded our entire forward line. Tinchy Ojeda, Duncan McGuire and Ramiro Enrique are all better players than Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele and Niko Gioacchini. Yet the attack is worse, in my opinion. Even statistically, by comparison to this point last season we have scored 2 fewer goals after 10 games this season than we had 10 games into 2022.
Even Obi-Wan is confused as to how we have achieved such a feat.
The pressure is on
It has to be, right? Suddenly, the US Open Cup game against Charlotte has become absolutely gargantuan. Elimination in the first round of a tornament that Orlando will be setting out to defend would be nothing short of disastrous for this club. Given that we are already out of the Champions League, realistically out of Supporters Shield contention, the Open Cup is our most realistic chance of silverware.
I do not believe we should be taken seriously as MLS Cup or Leagues Cup contenders at this point.
Obviously the season wouldn't be over, were the unthinkable to happen midweek, but the season would suddenly feel a lot less promising. And Pareja's seat would suddenly be a hell of a lot warmer.
Ojeda was the pick of a bad bunch. He was genuinely very positive and was unlucky not to score with a rasping first time shot early in the first half. He generally tried to make things happen but nothing he was doing was coming off. Regardless, the intent was there.
Gallese -6- Didn't have much to do and couldn't do much for either goal.
Halliday -6- Had a bit of and off game.
Jansson -6- Really unlucky with the own goal.
Antonio Carlos -6- Cut a frustrated figure at times.
Smith -6- Not a left-back.
Cartagena -6- Recycled possession well.
Araujo -5- Needs time out of the side for me.
Ojeda -6- Tried to play positively.
Torres -6- Anonymous.
Angulo -6- Had a positive game.
Kara -7- Had no service, but worked hard.
Santos -6- Should start.
Felipe -6- Game was lost.
McGuire -6- Was a big miss from the start.
Enrique -6- Couldn't impact the game.
Gonzalez -6- Didn't get into it.
Orlando City head Oscar Pareja
“Well, again with two very different phases from our performance in the first half. I thought we dominated the game, I thought it was very clear with the actions that the boys put on the pitch and had enough actions to level the score and surely just believed in it. But we came out to the half with a 0-0, that it was a dangerous reaction from Montreal in the second half, it made a difference. We started probably shy, we were not the same. And then they started hitting the spaces in the flanks and they were more precise than us. Every team has a half but we couldn’t score in the first and the second one Montreal did.”
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Media availability and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.