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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Inter Fort Lauderdale (h). Lions Frustrated By Fort Lauderdale In 1-1 Draw.

This was always going to be an emotionally charged occasion. After the Leagues Cup debacle down in Fort Lauderdale, there was always the very real risk that this game could get out of control. Despite that fact, Orlando were well disciplined throughout a frenetic opening half.

The pink prats came with a game plan; they wanted to ruffle a few feathers. Tomas Aviles was their chief culprit, with referee Armando Villarreal being far too lenient with the Fort Lauderdale centre-back. Shocking, right?

Still, Orlando were the better of the two teams in the opening 45. Orlando certainly had the better of the chances in the first period, and throughout the game in fact. A couple of devilish crosses, one from Rafael Santos and one from Dagur Dan Þórhallsson should have been finished off. Duncan McGuire was also denied by Drake Callender as Robin Jansson played him in.

The second half was a little more disjointed overall. Orlando never looked totally comfortable in possession, touches were loose and the ball was lost in a number of key areas. Despite this, Orlando were still the more likely team to go on and win, creating more than enough chances to take the game away from Fort Lauderdale.

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After a poorly defended Fort Lauderdale goal, Duncan McGuire was the one to haul Orlando level. They subsequently missed a hatful of chances, with Ivan Angulo's one-on-one the worst of the lot. Orlando just needed to be more clinical, which is something Oscar Pareja addressed in the post-match:

"Two things that are important for Orlando, first to start cleaning the things up when we have the chances and to be more lethal there and we have to be better in our defensive third. There are times where you don’t score goals, but you have to keep your opponent at zero. The decision to remove Cesar [Araujo], he was playing a good game, and he was healthy, it was a hard decision to take him off for Wilder [Cartegena]. I wanted Mauricio [Pereyra] to occupy that space and connect us with his ability to create from that zone and bring another striker. It was risky, but I think the game deserved it. We wanted to go for them. The goal came and they just started looking like it was too much, but the boys are believing we can win the games. We can win and we went forward, we took the risk, but we could have won it too.” 

Dagur Dan Þórhallsson at right-back

I don't have an issue with Icelandic midfielder playing there, per se. This is more about Orlando City's defensive vulnerability on that side. In possession he's fairly comfortable; he completed 32/40 passes in this game, he created 1 big chance (0.31 XA) and made 9 passes into the final third. He's particularly effective when he inverts and helps Orlando to clog the midfield.

The trouble is, when he inverted or got forward down the flank, Rodrigo Schlegel was left exposed, and he's not a good enough one-v-one defender to be left exposed like that. In the first half, it wasn't so much of an issue, as Cesar Araujo was able to drop in and protect that right half-space (figure 1). Even when Þórhallsson stayed back, the right half space was an issue. I hate to say it, because he's a well loved figure, but Schlegel is a problem defensively. Araujo protected him well in the first-half.

However, after the half, Oscar Pareja subbed out Cesar Araujo and bought on Tincho Ojeda (which I liked from an attacking standpoint), leaving Wilder Cartagena as the sole defensive midfielder. Pereyra dropped deeper, but still had the license to push up high (something which Oscar highlighted in his post-match comments). Orlando subsequently had less coverage in the right half-space. This ultimately led to Inter Fort Lauderdale being able to carve out more opportunities in that area (figure 2), as they targeted their attacks down the left-flank (figure 3). It was clearly something they had discussed.

Figure 1 shows Araujo's heatmap, whole 90.

Figure 2 shows Inter Fort Lauderdale's shit positioning matrix, second half.

Figure 3 shows Inter Fort Lauderdale's action zones, whole 90.

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Missed chances the principal issue

Orlando, despite not being at their best, had more than enough chances to win this game. I actually felt like their XG rating of 1.41 seemed a little disingenuous. Duncan McGuire's first half chance was only given an expected goal rating of 14.12% by, whilst Angulo's second half miss was rated at 56.45%. I thought both chances were much more clearcut than the numbers suggest.

The Angulo one in particular, had me tearing my hair out. He just needs to open up his body and slot the ball into the opposite corner. He tried to be too cute, and ends up missing the shot as a result. If either of the aforementioned chances funds the net, I believe the outcome of the game is a lot different.

Top player

Duncan McGuire

Wasn't hugely involved in the overall play; he only had 18 touches. That being said, he was a willing runner all night long and got the all important equaliser. The first-half miss was possibly the easiest of the two chances. Without his goal we come out of this game with a frustrating defeat that we wouldn't hear the end of for months.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Gallese -8- Made some key saves.

Þórhallsson -7- Looked good in possession, but without Antonio Carlos, I would prefer Kyle Smith at right-back.

Schlegel -6- Looked clumsy.

Jansson -7- Excellent distribution.

Santos -6- Looked good on the ball, but should have been tracking David Ruiz when he scored.

Araujo -7- Unlucky to get subbed at HT, but it made attacking sense.

Cartagena -8- Recycled possession well.

Pereyra -6- Needs to show more in an attacking sense.

Torres -6- Not his best night.

Angulo -7- Got into some great positions.

McGuire -8- Ran the line well.


Ojeda -7- Looked a threat.

Enrique -6- Struggled to get in the game.

Halliday -6- Looked rusty.

Urso -6- Struggled to make an impact.

González -6- Got into some good positions.


Orlando City SC head coach Oscar Pareja

"It was a very competitive match, of course we are battling for our fans, the stadium and the company that we have. The stamina in the game was raised from the first minute and then many times the game became very rocky. We could’ve had more clarity in the two boxes when we were attacking and be cleaner when making a decision and not having to suffer that much to score the goal that equalized the game. At the end, I think we pushed, we played well. I don’t like to say that we deserved more because that’s soccer, it’s not a good phrase. We have to be cleaner in these types of games, where there’s not many options, the gaps are closed, and we had our moments to finish. But we take the point, we have 51 points and we are second [in the conference standings]. The boys deserve a lot and this is the taste of what is coming from us. Every game is like a playoff game and we’re proud of the players.” 

*All statistics courtesy of, and

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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