Complacency is a dangerous commodity in football. I don't think, if we're all being honest with ourselves, there was a single Orlando City supporter who didn't think we'd sweep Cincinnati aside. I'm sure Oscar Pareja's men never allowed such musings to permeate their approach to this game; although you'd be forgiven for thinking that to be the case. This was a game that Orlando needed to win, particularly if they still harbour genuine hopes of success this season. And one where they ultimately flattered to deceive.
Orlando have looked pretty solid defensively so far this season. However, Cincinnati hopelessly exposed some worrying deficiencies at the back. And they could have had more; with Brandon Vazquez in particular, missing chances to complete his hat trick after his winner.
It has to be said that Orlando carved out a number of opportunities themselves, but found Alex Kann in inspired form as he was once again forced to work overtime by his haphazard defence. Orlando were banging on the door for much of the game, as the following statistics will testify; 70% possession, 18 shots, 6 on target and 589 total passes (over twice that of Cincy). Defensive lapses ended up costing the Lions in a big way. And that's what I want to focus on first.
I've stated previously that we looked a little more solid through the first 2 games of the season. Regular readers will know I was fairly critical of our defensive capabilities last season. There were shades of those frailties during this game. Particularly for the first goal.
My issue with the first goal is that it's just a sloppy lapse in concentration. Moutinho and Jansson don't talk to each other, Moutinho allows Vasquez to run into the half-space, totally unchecked. Jansson steps towards the ball, and is totally unaware of Vasquez's run. Vasquez then has a clear opening when he latches onto the through pass.
What needs to happen here is that Moutinho needs to come across and get goal side of Vasquez and cut that ball out. He also needs to give Jansson a shout, which he doesn't seem to do based off of the fact that Jansson barely reacts, and seems surprised when Vasquez pops up in the area.
Figure 1 is a game still from just before the first goal.
The second goal is much of the same, in terms of it being a lapse in concentration at the back. The winner was frustrating in so many ways; mainly the manner of the goal. The initial challenge, from Ruan on Dominique Badji, was pathetic. That might seem harsh, but there's no way Ruan should be muscled out that easily. He also doesn't make much of an attempt to get back at Badji. And then there's the marking... Well, not really because it didn't seem like there was much of that going on. Jansson is again caught blindsided. The ball comes in, and it's an easy goal for Vazquez.
The goal seemed to spark Cincy into life, and a they then had a flurry of decent openings. This could've been worse. It could've been a lot worse John. That particular reference is so obscure I'll buy anyone that gets it a Jurassic Park DVD. Ooops. OK, maybe I won't. Who even watches DVDs anymore anyway?
Figure 2 is a game still from before the winning goal.
Alas, Orlando City need to show this is just a blip, otherwise it will be, understandably, seen as a continuation of last season's infirmities.
Taking chances... Or not
Orlando created a number of clear goal scoring opportunities, but just weren't able to make any of them stick. The fact they are creating chances is encouraging; especially as record signing Facundo Torres was finally able to register his first goal contribution with an assist for Junior Urso.
Orlando registered an XG score of 1.41, compared to Cincinnati's 0.97. Which almost beggars belief. The Lions had twice the number of shots that their visitors had. They made them pay.
Orlando did a great job of carving out opportunities, particularly from open play; their XG from open play was a very respectable 1.09. The Lions just needed to be more clinical in front of goal. And I think that will come with time, especially as Ercan Kara finds his feet. At least we're creating chances.
Urso had a decent game, which is reflected in his fotmob.com rating of 8.0. The Brazilian midfielder scored, had 4 shots on goal, completed 86% of his 51 passes as well as playing 1 key pass. He was typically combative and industrious. Difficult to find too much to criticise.
Gallese -6- Left hopelessly exposed for both goals.
Ruan -5- Got up the pitch well but got caught out for the winner.
Jansson -4- Played a big part in both Cincinnati goals. Poor game.
Antonio Carlos -6- Distributed the ball well.
Moutinho -6- Caught out for the first goal, but was OK aside from that.
Araujo -6- Tidy performance overall.
Urso -8- Orlando's best player on the night.
Torres -7- Will be pleased with his first assist.
Pereyra -5- Largely anonymous.
Pato -7- Showed glimpses of quality.
Kara -6- Unlucky not to score.
Michel -6- Looked lively.
Akindele -6- Came in very late.
Mendez -6- Came in very late.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“It’s difficult accepting that we didn’t get a result tonight. Obviously you can’t hide that feeling, especially after the effort that the boys put in during the game. The boys tried from every single angle in the first half and the second half and we were not effective putting the ball into the back of the net. This is a game where you get points when you score goals, but the performance was good. I was proud of the effort and obviously the way they started gelling together, especially the new ones coming in and doing sequences that we like and have a lot of volume in the attack. At this point, you just have to breathe and keep going. It’s a long season and if we keep working in the right way, we’re going to win games.”
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
All game stills courtesy of mlssoccer.com and all video footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Cover and top player image courtesy of Orlando City SC.