Analysis: Inter Fort Lauderdale (a). Breaking News, Florida Is Still Purple.
First of all, I want to give props to the travelling Orlando City contingent. In a league where mass away travel usually isn't possible, to see any significant number hit the road with Orlando City is always impressive. You were loud and proud. Unlike the turgid home support. I am biased, but we have some of the best supporters in the league.
Inter Fort Lauderdale are everything I detest about the modern game; plastic club with a famous owner who thinks nothing of bending the rules. As such, you can imagine my delight when Ercan Kara's flicked header squirmed beyond the reach of Drake Callender in the Fort Lauderdale goal.
Whilst the noise from the crowd reverberated through the stadium's speakers and 4 people held up a 3 year old tifo, Orlando City took the opportunity to remind Inter Fort Lauderdale of their place in the Florida soccer hierarchy. Their decaying, high school bleacher stadium is an embarrassment. They're a David Beckham vanity project and nothing else. Also, where is Josef?
They had a brief reprieve, when Leonardo Campana thundered a strike beyond Pedro Gallese in the Orlando goal, but further goals from Tincho Ojeda and Rafael Santos rubber stamped a thoroughly deserved victory for the Lions.
It's time to start putting some respect on the name of Ercan Kara. The erstwhile Rapid Vienna striker continued his recent rich vein of scoring form with a cleverly flicked header in the first half. If you look at his movement for the goal (figure 1), his awareness in the area is brilliant. He sees exactly where Cesar Araujo has pitched the long throw too, and backs into the defender before delicately flicking the header over Callender. It's such a deft and precise finish; and one that's indicative of a striker at the top of his game. It's a very difficult chance, reflected in the fact Kara had an XG of 0.23.
Figure 1 shows a clip of Ercan Kara's goal.
Aside from the goal, his all round play was top drawer. He even turned provider for Ojeda (figure 2).
Figure 2 is a clip of Tincho Ojeda's goal.
He wasn't overly involved in the build up play, only having 24 touches. But his willingness to run and harass defenders was clear. The whole offence, again, struggled to click into gear. That said, there were significant signs of improvement, though; mainly in the form of their clinical finishing. Orlando had an XG of 0.92 and scored 3 times. They didn't create a whole lot, but they made it count when they did. And to be honest, you don't mind that on the road. As the away team, particularly in a derby, you're always going to have to soak up a bit of pressure. The trick for Oscar Pareja, is going to be getting this offence to click consistently. When they do, this will be a good team. It remains to be seen if Oscar Pareja is the man to do it.
Mixing it up a bit
Orlando mixed their style up a bit during this match, edging away from their more patient passing style to going a little more direct. Which, I don't mind to be honest. Going direct doesn't necessarily mean you're going full Sean Dyche and launching the ball up to Chris Wood ala Burnley. it can just mean you get the ball forward a little quicker. Of Orlando's 311, 15.4% of them were long balls. Which is a little higher than the 10.4% we saw in the game against NYCFC.
I think the aim was to expose Fort Lauderdale's back-line and put them under a bit of pressure. Fort Lauderdale played with a back 3, as such Orlando tried to get down the sides quite a bit. Antonio Carlos and Robin Jansson both did a great job of playing long balls into the final third, where Gastón González and Rafael Santos were often the targets (figure 3). Jansson was 3/5 and Antonio Carlos 4/5 on accurate long balls.
It was an effective tactic that bought Orlando plenty of joy.
Figure 3 shows Orlando's passing network.
Kara has 4 in his last 5 and has scored in 3 straight games. He's now on 4 goals and 1 assist through 8 MLS games. I still don't think we utilise him correctly, but it's testament to the Austrian striker's ability that he is scoring goals regardless. He had 11 goals and 3 assists last season. I don't understand how people don't rate him. He scored 8.4 on fotmob.com, which further highlights how important he was in this game.
Gallese -7- Not much to do, and not much he could do about the goal.
Smith -7- Stood up well in 1 v 1s.
Antonio Carlos -7- Distribution was excellent.
Jansson -8- Captained the side well.
Rafael Santos -8- Was a threat going forward.
Cartagena -7- Recycled possession well.
Araujo -8- One of his best games.
Angulo -8- Looked lively.
Torres -7- Not his most impactful game, but showed flashes.
González -7- Looked to make things happen.
Kara -9- Led the line well.
Schlegel -7- Helped to solidify things.
Ojeda -8- Huge impact.
Pereyra -7- Helped to keep possession.
McGuire -8- Excellent hold up and lay off for the third goal.
Þórhallsson -7- Provided energy late on.
Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja
"Congratulations to our fans for winning the derby. Beyond the three points that are very important for us, it means a lot to them. We're very happy to have such a performance here on this field against a main rival. We are very proud. I want to congratulate the players on the way they played tonight. I think it was until the 16th minute that it was our first shot against [Inter Miami CF]. We have a very solid resistance, and character in the initiative to play the game. If you’re going to start to win away games, it was super. A lot of things that we can dig into and just take in as a method to get going to prepare for the next game against Atlanta... I want to highlight that these three (points) was for our fans. Obviously, it’s a derby for the fans that are in Orlando but especially the ones that came it was very emotional for us to see that corner dressed in purple and trusting the team and supporting us. They deserve the best and I promise that we won’t stop working to see if we can get this better and better.”
*All statistics courtesy of whoscored.com, fotmob.com and MLSsoccer.com
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Game highlights courtesy of MLS/Apple TV.