Analysis: Columbus Crew (h). Orlando survive second half scare to grab all 3 points.
Many of you will be aware of the enormity of the cultural phenomenon that is 'transfer deadline day' over here in Europe. It's a cocktail of reporters wearily stood outside of club's training grounds as they scramble to bolster their squads. One name I spent the whole day hoping I wouldn't hear was that of Daryl Dike. And this game highlighted exactly why that is. Daryl Dike's slaloming run and explosive finish was a joy to behold. It was the sort of forward play that's been sorely lacking in recent weeks. As transfer windows around the world continue to slam shut (move along Turkey), the potential retention of Daryl Dike takes on more and more importance.
Dike's moment of brilliance provided the rest of the squad with a huge shot in the arm, which was clear for all to see. Orlando moved the ball around with supreme confidence. Somewhat ironically ,there was precious little to separate the sides at the half; possession was 53.1% to 46.9% in favour of Columbus, both teams played 200 passes, whilst shots on goal were 8 to 7 in favour of the visitors. It was all very nip and tuck, without much in it. The difference? Better use of the ball, and better finishing. That's it. Derrick Etienne Jr was Columbus' biggest threat down the right. Orlando needed to handle him better in that first 45. Orlando went in at the half 2 goals to the good, despite that.
It didn't last long, however. A disastrous, and frankly bizarre, own goal from Antonio Carlos preceded a Miguel Berry equaliser. It was the sort of start to a half that had me thinking it was Christmas, because the 2 Columbus goals were an absolute gift. A late Junior Urso goal spared Orlando's blushes, and earned the Lions a huge win. It was a win that ensured Oscar Pareja's team would move back up to second place.
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Daryl Dike is back
Orlando City are just different gravy with Dike up top. There's no two ways about it. His emphatic opener was just the filip Orlando needed following their bright start. The striker took 3 shots, with 2 being on frame, played 1 key pass, completed 2 dribbles and drew 2 fouls. Dike also took his goal brilliantly. He dumped the defender on his backside, before almost lifting the net off with a rasping strike. The chance had an XG rating of 8.54% according to mlssoccer.com, so it was by no means a given. Dike made it seem inevitable, however.
For me though, it's his physical presence that is by far his most valuable asset. He won 6 aerial duels (figure 1) throughout the game and generally stayed in a forward position (figure 2). This meant he was always in a position to hustle defenders whenever Orlando completed a clearance. As can clearly be seen for the goal (figure 3). Nani makes that play and Dike makes sure he wins the battle. It was defending from the front at its absolute finest.
Figure 1 shows Daryl Dike's aerial duel positioning matrix, whole 90.
Figure 2 shows Daryl Dike's heatmap, whole 90.
Figure 3 shows a clip of Daryl Dike's opener.
The issue of Chris Mueller
I realise this take might be as controversial and seemingly unpopular as having a female lead in a Star Wars movie (by the way, Rey Skywalker for the win), but I don't think I'll miss Chris Mueller all that much. As endearing and likeable a character as he is, his production has been minimal all season long. A trend that continued on Saturday evening. He had 3 shots on goal, which was a nice change. He's averaged 0.9 shots per game on the season, making for 19 in total, 3 of which were on Saturday evening. He has 4 assists and 24 key passes on the season which isn't awful; but his last assist was way back in June, in the win over San Jose. That was 13 games ago. His last goal was 11 games ago, against the Red Bulls. It's just becoming harder to justify his inclusion in the team. He's also been subbed out 11 times in 13 games, which tells its own story.
As for this game, outside of the 3 shots he had, I saw precious little to warrant his inclusion in the next game. And this, ironically, was one of his better games, at least in terms of numbers; 3 shots, 4 drawn fouls and a pass success rate of 87.9% from 33.
Mueller seems to lack any sort of killer instinct right now. He recorded 1 dribble, 0 successful crosses and 4 unsuccessful touches/dispossessions, which was the highest on the team. His season ratings on whoscored.com also make for grim reading; only on 5 occasions has head a rating of at least 7 (figure 4). Aside from a whole lot of running, it's hard to see what he's bringing to the table right now.
Figure 4 shows Chris Mueller's ratings on the season so far, according to whoscored.com.
A lapse in concentration and the character shown to overcome it
I can't believe I'm writing this. It feels unnatural. It needs to be said, though. Antonio Carlos, what were you thinking mate? His disastrous own goal provided Columbus with an avenue back into the game. I can only think he was trying to head the ball behind, but he just gets his angles horribly wrong. The experienced Brazilian only ended up inadvertently usurping Adam Grinwis with a thunderous header. The goal completely took the wind from Orlando's sails, as was evidenced by the equaliser. The Orlando back-line were all at sea (pun intended, duh) as Columbus carved through and nabbed an equaliser that they arguably deserved.
As you'll see from the clip in figure 5, Columbus carve their way through far too easily. Robin Jansson is pulled out of position, and no one really reacts at all. This allows Miguel Berry the time and space to latch on to the dangerous pass from Derrick Etienne Jr, and coolly finish. It was a goal that was symptomatic of the malaise that followed the first. The Lions were shell shocked, and it showed. Thankfully Junior Urso's late strike saved their blushes.
Figure 5 shows a clip of Columbus' equaliser.
Dike had standout performance for Orlando City, registering an 8.5 rating on whoscored.com. The USMNT striker was mobile, strong and showed a killer instinct in front of goal. He ran the line well, showcased some excellent hold up play, as well as working the channels effectively when needed. Dike just gives this offence added impetus, a spark that's been conspicuous only by it's absence in recent weeks. Welcome back, Daryl.
Grinwis -7- Dependable second debut for Grinny.
Ruan -7- Looked a little more like his usual self with those trademark runs.
Antonio Carlos -6- Not his best night. He's been superb all season, though.
Jansson -7- Lost track of Berry for the goal, but made some other timely plays.
Moutinho -6- Seemed to struggle with Etienne Jr at times during a frenetic first 45.
DeZart -7- Calm and composed on the ball.
Urso -7- Fine strike for the winner.
Nani -6- Had a big hand in the goal, but was quiet for much of the game.
Mueller -6- Ran a lot.
Van Der Water -7- Constant threat. His early substitution was bizarre.
Dike -9- Constant threat.
Smith -6- Came in late to help see the game out.
Pereyra -7- Provided a bit of a spark at a difficult time.
Michel -7- Lively cameo.
Akindele -5- Blew a golden chance to rubber stamp the win.
Schlegel -6- Came in too late to make a lasting impression.
Game footage courtesy of Fox 35.
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