• Dan Berridge

Analysis: CF Montréal (h). Second consecutive defeat for OC has them clinging to second place hopes.

These are disconcerting times for all those connected with Orlando City Soccer Club. A season that promised so much threatens to derail itself ahead of consecutive road games Philadelphia, New England and Nashville. It wasn't meant to be like this. This was a game that Orlando City had to win. With Oscar Pareja able to field, arguably, our strongest line-up of the season, the game seemed a sure fire win for Orlando. It wasn't to be. Orlando City's current malaise continues, compounding the ill feeling amongst supporters that seems to have permeated the outer wall of hope and optimism that has fathered throughout 2021.


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned right now. I'm in no way advocating for the proverbial panic button to be pushed... But there's work for Pareja and his players to do in the coming weeks, lest we concede our hard fought position among the eastern conference's elite. As tempting as that panic button may seem. I must admit I've already lifted the protective casing, and my hand is hovering over the button whilst I wipe my sweaty brow.


Reprehensible conduct from our skipper means that we head into a daunting stretch of fixtures without our star man. This 4-2 defeat to Montréal was a disaster, let's make no bones about it. The red cards received by Nani and Andres Perea were careless. Nani, in particular, should know better. The erstwhile Manchester United player was, in fact, fortunate not to receive a straight red for the first foul. Both challenges were just... Silly.

Taking care of the ball


Orlando City just didn't. Montréal carried 59.7% of the play during this game, out passing Orlando 530 to 361, whilst Orlando only completed 85% of their passes. Montréal? They had a pass completion rate of 92%. I'd be remiss not to acknowledge that Orlando's depleted numbers didn't play a part in that. Indeed, up until the 35th minute, when Nani received his marching orders, Orlando held 53.5% of the overall play. However, they still had an inferior pass completion rate to that of the visitors (85%-88%-figure 1). The top 5 pass completion percentages we're all posted by Montréal players (figure 2). Montréal just did a better job of looking after the ball overall.

Figure 1 shows some passing accuracy statistics from the 1st to the 35th minutes.

Figure 2 shows some passing accuracy statistics, whole 90.


Ill discipline costing the Lions


Heading into this game, Orlando ranked 8th in the MLS fair play table (figure 3). It's something Orlando needs to get better at. Too many times, in pressure games, does this Orlando City side lose its discipline. Look at the play-offs last season. After Wednesday evenings' misdemeanours, Orlando City will have undoubtedly climbed one or two places (there wasn't a more up to date table available at the time of writing). Orlando have to do a better job of keeping their heads. I understand pressure situations, the heat, things like that serve as mitigating circumstances; but we have to do better. We are now missing starters, for a daunting stretch (albeit, Nani will only be 1 game - as at the time of writing).

Nani, simply put, should know better. He picks up the first booking and then follows it up with a foolish tug. He let the side down, and to applaud the Portuguese from the field after such a petulant act... Well, I can't really wrap my head around it to be honest. I'm a huge fan of his, and he's done so much for this club. But this wasn't one of his finest moments and he'll know that. So, I'm not sure what people were applauding him for.


As for Perea's red, it was a simple decision for the referee. There's really no arguing with it. Although, you could be forgiven for not knowing that, given that the Lions players were surrounding the official and being somewhat overzealous in their unfounded protestations. It's honestly a minor miracle we didn't end the game with 8 men.


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Poor defending


Both goals during that disastrous first period, were completely avoidable. As a matter of fact, all if them were. For the first goal (figure 3), Jansson is caught completely ball watching, as is Emmanuel Mas. The ball is dropped on a dime between the two beleaguered defenders, and Mathieu Choinière has the easiest of tasks, deftly cushioning the ball past Pedro Gallese. Choinière positions himself well between the two Orlando City defenders, neither of which really takes control of the situation. This goal was like the poor correlation between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy: infuriating and completely avoidable.

Figure 3 shows a game still for the first goal.


The second goal is more of the same. Antonio Carlos has arguably been Orlando City's player of the season so far, but he leaves Romell Quioto in his blind spot and allows the Honduran to steal a march on him (figure 4). It's a basic, basic error. And one that left Orlando with freaking Everest to climb. And I don't mean the beloved Animal Kingdom attraction. More like, the actual Himalayan mountain.


The third goal? Well it's just pedestrian. The Orlando City defence doesn't do enough to shutdown the original cross, and Antonio Carlos allows his man to get the flick. It was just shoddy. There's really no other word for it.

Figure 4 shows a game still for the second goal for the visitors.


It was much of the same for the 4th goal. Orlando switched off for the corner kick, and a cleverly drilled pass is flicked in at the near post by Sunusi Ibrahim. It was a goal that was symptomatic of a performance that was as frenetic as it was ill disciplined. It was chaotic defending that perversely encapsulated what was a harum-scarum game for Orlando City.


Top player


Orlando City supporters


You guys were all the real MVPs on Wednesday night. Given how the game turned out, I felt it disingenuous to give it to any of the players. Whilst Robin Jansson and Ruan got their first goals, both were culpable for this defeat (at least partially). Whoscored.com had Ruan rated as Orlando's best player with a rating of 6.56; which sort of says it all really. However, as the Lions cowered, the supporters inside Exploria Stadium did not stop all night. And that really came through on the broadcast this side of the pond. Kudos to you guys.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Gallese -5- Struggled, but was left hopelessly exposed at times.


Ruan -6- Scored a good goal, but got caught out too often.

Antonio Carlos -5- Uncharacteristically sloppy performance from him.

Jansson -5- See above.

Mas -4- Got ran ragged.


Perea -4- What was he thinking?

Urso -6- Got himself about well.


Van Der Water -6- Looked a threat until the injury.

Nani -4- Let the team down.

Pereyra -5- Tried to make things happen, but just didn't work out for him.


Dike -5- Hopelessly starved of service.


Substitutes


Mueller -5- Unfortunate cameo.

Akindele -5- Barely got a kick.

Michel -5- Got about well, that's about it.

Alvarado -5- Came in too late to do anything.

*All statistics courtesy of whoscored.com.

Game stills courtesy of Fox 35 Plus.

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