• Dan Berridge

Analysis: Inter Fort Lauderdale (a).

Wow. What an embarrassing performance that was. You know me, I'll say it how it is. I'm all for positivity when it's appropriate, but now is not that time. Another decrepit performance on the road has left Orlando City with it all to do, heading into the final game against Columbus Crew.


It's win or go home for Orlando, and if they defend like we did in Fort Lauderdale... Well... Let's just say we won't be popping champagne for a second time this season.


I'm momentarily at a loss for words.


Let's just get into what went wrong, shall we?



The first goal


What a joke this goal is. The ball is played by Smith in the Fort Lauderdale half, it takes a knick off of a Fort Lauderdale player and comes spins between Antonio Carlos and Rodrigo Schlegel (figure 1). Neither player makes any attempt to deal with it. Leonardo Campana sees the opportunity and takes it. To be fair to the Fort Lauderdale man, it's an incredible strike. But one of them has to deal with it. They just have to. They don't and we start the game in the worst possible way.


Figure 1 is a game still from the first goal.


The second goal


You know what might be fun? If we leave a striker who has scored goals, consistently, at the highest level, completely unmarked at the back stick.


Joke of a goal.


Kyle Smith and Rodrigo Schlegel are caught way too high up the pitch. Antonio Carlos is expecting that cover behind him. He's moved towards the ball in an attempt to close the space (figure 2). But Smith? Schlegel? Both were actually in Miami, that's how far out of position they were. Pedro Gallese has no chance and it's 2-0. And guess what? It's an absolute gift.


We are not a good side, defensively speaking. Especially without Robin Jansson. Some people will claim we are, but the proof is in the pudding. We rank 18th for XGa, with 1.51 per game. Why is it so high? Because we allow goals like this on an all too frequent basis. It's criminally stupid defending. Just watch Smith's positioning at the start of the clip. Schlegel's slip up is bad, but Smith's faux pas is so much worse. There is no need for him to be that high in that moment of transition. There just isn't.


Figure 2 is a clip for the second goal.


The third goal


To be fair to Ruan, it's a joke call. Never in a million years is that a penalty. PRO gonna PRO, I guess. The ball flicks off of the Fort Lauderdale forward and hits Ruan in the arm (figure 3). Now, Ruan's arm is down by his side and in a completely natural position. It's a mind boggling decision.


Whilst this decision wasn't the reason we lost the game, it sure as hell made the recovery a lot more difficult. At 2-0 down, it effectively killed the game as a contest.


Figure 3 is a clip showing the penalty call.

The fourth goal


Tackle him. Tackkklllleee him. JUST TACKLE HIM! Close the space, do anything but what you did guys. Cesar Araujo and Ruan just stand off. All the way from the halfway line to the edge of the area. They invite the shot and Ariel Lassiter obliges (figure 4).


Figure 4 is a clip showing the 4th goal.


Now, as bad as the goals are our overall play just wasn't incisive enough. We weren't decisive in possession and never really attacked with any vigour. People will point to the 60% possession and 16 shots, but there were 0 big chances created. Orlando had an overall XG of 0.83; which was, realistically speaking, a tad generous.


Some players just aren't up to this standard and for me Pareja has been found out tactically. I think it's probably time for a change. The US Open Cup win was incredible. But this team has not been good enough in MLS play. This squad should have clinched already. Is Oscar the guy to take us to that next level? To make us MLS Cup contenders. No, I do not think so.


There's no accountability. In the post-match presser he was straight onto the referee. His team's lack of discipline is a real concern. Antonio Carlos ruled himself out of Decision Day by peaking up a needless caution at 4-0 down. We lose our heads all the time. It's not good enough. During tough times you need leadership from your head coach, not excuses.


We'll do well to clinch on Sunday.


A far cry from Sacramento.


Top player


Ercan Kara


Took his goal well. That's all I can really say. He made 2/2 passes and had 9 touches of the ball in 45 minutes. He had NOTHING to work with. The chance he scored had an XG of 0.49. It wasn't an easy goal by any means. He finishes well after good work from Facu.


That's all I got.


Player ratings


Starting XI


Gallese -6- Must be so sick of this.


Smith -5- I like Smith but this was his worst performance.

Schlegel -5- Dreadful.

Antonio Carlos -5- Needs to cool it.

Moutinho -6- The least worst.


Araujo -5- Far from his best.

Pereyra -6- Fort Lauderdale ran the midfield.


Torres -7- Tried to make things happen.

Urso -5- Anonymous.

Michel -5- Dreadful.


Akindele -5- Totally isolated.


Substitutes


Kara -6- Scored.

Ruan -6- Unlucky with the pen.

Angulo -7- Should have started.

Halliday -6- Not his fault.

Cartagena -6- Damage was done before he came on.


Reaction


Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“Well, we understand the importance of this game, a rivalry, derby and we know what this kind of game means to the fans. We’re pretty disappointed not to perform the way we should. In that part, I take the responsibility. I felt we couldn’t recover today as well and then, after these couple days, we couldn’t get our energy back. After that, everything just came down. The first minute we concede a goal and our reactions were late but the boys have done a great job through the season, they have the [opportunity] to get into the playoffs at home. It’s on our shoulders, it’s our responsibility, we don’t need to wait on any results. We’ll fight for that. We’re going to fight for this jersey on Sunday at home.”


*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com

Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Media availability footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.