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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: DC United (h). 5 Star Performance From Orlando City On Legends Night.

This was a night to honour the legendary Brazilian Kaká. It's a game the former Ballon d'Or winner would have loved to play in. Kaká was a master of the dribble, who had an incredible eye for a pass.


Getting to see one of the greats of the modern game play for Orlando City live was one of the premier footballing privileges of my life.


He would have had a lot of fun against this DC United defence. Orlando City followed up the win in Toronto with a thumping 5-0 win against a hapless DC.



In terms of performance, this was a drastic improvement in terms of what we have seen so far this season. People will, inevitably, caveat the win by saying DC are trash. You all know I love a Star Wars reference; DC United are definitely more Attack of The Clones than Empire Strikes Back.


And that's fine, but we have to acknowledge how well Orlando City played. It had a more, late 2023 feel than a 2024 feel. Orlando's movement was fluid, their passing crisp and they created high quality chances throughout the game.


In all honesty, 5-0 probably flattered DC. It could've easily been more.


Orlando were back to something like their best going forward


It seems like a relatively obvious thing to say after a 5-0 win.


But it's true. Not only were Orlando excellent in that department, they were clinical. They had 25 shots, 10 being on target. They had an XGoT (expected goals on target) of 4.09 (figure 1). They weren't just shooting for shooting's sake. They were creating high quality chances and taking them.


Much of that was down to the performances of Facundo Torres and Martín Ojeda. Oscar Pareja seems to have finally worked out that the Argentine is quite good at football. His and Torres' link up play was instrumental. Both players put in excellent performances (figure 2).


They have to keep playing together.


Figure 1 shows Orlando's (left) XG stats.


Figure 2 shows both Torres and Ojeda's key attacking statistics.


Wilder Cartagena makes things tick


His absence for Copa America, has been keenly felt in Central Florida. We don't have anyone who can replace him in the team. We just don't. When he was in the back 3, at the start of the season, we missed him in midfield. These last few weeks we have missed him completely. I cannot emphasise how important he is to this team.


He does all of the dirty work. He wins tackles, he makes recoveries, interceptions... He recycles the ball and is absolutely crucial to our transitional play. We cannot replace him. Every time I think about us playing without him, I get like this:



When you look at his contribution last night, with his 95% pass completion rate, his 89 touches, his 3 recoveries. He breaks the opposition down and helps us to get on the front foot. It becomes infinitely more difficult for the opposition to gain a foothold in midfield when he starts. Whenever DC United cleared their lines last night, he was there, prowling. The cross for Jansson was a fine example of that.


He's absolutely indispensable.


Top player


Wilder Cartagena


The Peruvian makes such a difference. Ojeda and Torres were both excellent, but Wilder was at the heart of everything Orlando did well. It's great to have him back.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Gallese -7- Could have bought a hammock.


Þórhallsson -8- Got up and down well.

Schlegel -7- Uncharacteristically solid.

Jansson -8- Didn't put a foot wrong.

Smith -7- Sold one v one.


Cartagena -9- Excellent.

Araújo -7- Didn't do much wrong.


Torres -8- Excellent.

Ojeda -8- Boy can play.

Angulo -8- Direct.


McGuire -7- Tireless.


Substitutes


Muriel -6- Didn't really get into it.

Enrique -7- Great to see him score.

Brekalo -6- Good to have him back.

Lodeiro -6- Fresh legs.

Freeman -7- Cheeky assist.


Reaction


Orlando City SC Head Coach Oscar Pareja


“On behalf of the players and all the staff on our team, we want to congratulate Kaká on what happened today. It was very significant to the Club and what he represents. It was an honor to be a part of that. Another good night for us, we tried to get more consistency in this game that we needed, not just because of points but the confidence that we need on the team. I thought it was an outstanding first half, probably the best that we have played during the year. I’ve seen that our players are getting more confident and we’re getting closer to what we were. We’re happy and encouraged to keep going. The second half, to play up a man, we dominated the game territorially and in spaces, but I think the overall take is we look much more like ourselves.”




*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob.

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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