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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Charlotte FC (a). Orlando City Finally Show A Bit Of Resilience In Grinding Out A Draw.

This Orlando City team has wilted in the face of adversity countless times during what can only be described as an horrendous 2024 season. The club sits second from bottom in the East and fifth from bottom overall.


It's been the stuff of nightmares.


There were very tentative signs of recovery in Charlotte, as Orlando largely had the better of the affair, cultivating the most possession and shots on goal. Orlando's XG of 1.98 was rewarded with 2 fine goals from Duncan McGuire and Facundo Torres.


Orlando's defensive frailties came back to the surface, however. This is a game where we should have been talking about 3 points.



That's not to say Charlotte didn't have their moments. Charlotte are having a decent season under Dean Smith, no doubt. They have good players all over the park. And they threatened to turn the screw on a number of occasions.



Whilst this Orlando City performance was undoubtedly better, there was still a lot left to be desired in my opinion. Particularly in terms of the defensive side of the game.


All over the place at the back


I just feel like I'm repeating myself every weekend. And to be quite honest I'm tired of it. Basic, basic defensive errors are happening on a weekly basis. And more often than not, they are punished.


It's rec league stuff, just look at the stills in figures 1 & 2. Note how Dagur Dan loses sight of Kerwin Vargas. Þórhallsson doesn't spot him when the ball initially goes wide, and the Icelandic defender carries on ball watching the entire time. The ball is cut back from the byline, Felipe Martins and Ivan Angulo both get in each others' way and Vargas can hardly believe his luck.


There were also numerous other times where Charlotte got into good positions to creat shooting opportunities (figure 3). We're just so flaky at the back. We have two clean sheets in 14 games.



It's not good enough.


Figure 1 is a game still from the first half.


Figure 2 is a game still from the first half.

Figure 3 shows Charlotte's shot positioning matrix, whole 90.


At least we looked better going forward


There was a significant improvement in our attacking play. Our passing and progressive play was much better than it has been. In terms of our play on the ball, going forward, it was probably our best display of the season.


The stats make for excellent reading (figure 4). Orlando created a whopping 7 big chances according to Fotmob. The City attack seemed a lot more fluid than it has done in recent weeks. Facundo Torres played very well, as did Luis Muriel whose movement was excellent (figure 5).


Figure 4 shows Orlando's (right) attacking statistics.


Figure 5 shows Muriel's heatmap, whole 90.


Top player


Facundo Torres


The Uruguayan playmaker was someway back to his mercurial best in North Carolina. He completed 78 of his 81 passes for a whopping 96% completion rate. He created 4 chances, took 4 shots and had 12 touches in the opposition box. More tellingly he had 106 touches overall. He was everywhere. It was great to see him back to his best.

Player ratings


Starting XI


Stajduhar -6- Didn't do a lot wrong.


Þórhallsson -6- Switched off for the goal.

Jansson -6- Looks way off it.

Schlegel -6- Gives me heart palpitations.

Santos -6- Looks a shell of himself.


Torres -9- Was excellent.

Lodeiro -8- Linked play well.

Martins -7- Was very unfortunate with the injury.

Angulo -7- Was lively in an attacking sense.


Muriel -9- Movement was great.

McGuire -8- Will be disappointed not to score more than 1, but worked hard.


Substitutes


Araujo -7- Kept possession well.

Ojeda -7- Had some good moments.

Lynn -6- Came in very late.

Freeman -6- Came in late.

Smith -6- Came in late.


Reaction


Orlando City SC Head Coach Oscar Pareja


“A very rare game in the fact that that, too early, we get one extra player and Charlotte found a way to score a second goal in the moment that we were pushing the most (for a goal). Those circumstances make us feel that getting these results at some point it's going to help us. It’s obvious that we wanted and made a lot of efforts to win the game but Charlotte found a second goal and it could have been worse. So, humbly, today we take that point. We wanted more but we have some positive things still that we have to grab there and just move on to the next game.”





*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob and whoscored.com

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

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

Game stills courtesy of MLS/Apple TV.



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