• Dan Berridge

Analysis: Inter Fort Lauderdale (h). Orlando Squeak Through In Dramatic Penalty Shootout.

Orlando City are through to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup quarter finals. This was a huge result for Oscar Pareja's team. I believe this competition is the most likely route to silverware this season. And with the quarter final line-up looking as it does, I see no reason to alter that belief.


It might've looked a bit dicey when Fort Lauderdale took the lead in extra time, but Orlando did well to keep calm and haul themselves level almost immediately. The Lions were the better side throughout the entirety of the contest, to lose in ET would've been a gut punch.


Overall, I think Orlando City can be very pleased with their performance and can take confidence going into the weekend.

Plenty of chances created


Orlando City were undoubtedly the better team throughout the 90, and in fact the 120, minutes. They certainly created more chances and were generally very fluid in their attacking play. Orlando had a whopping 28 shots, but only 6 on target (figure 1). So to say they were a tad profligate would be being being kind. But still, they're creating those chances. And I believe that's because they're being a little braver in possession than they perhaps have been in the past.


The likes of Facundo Torres and Mauricio Pereyra (when he came in) are starting to find their best form. Both players were excellent in terms of their movement and did a great job of playing between the lines, playing short passes, little triangles to get out of trouble. And you see an excellent example of this with the equaliser (figure 2). Facu also completed 5 of his 6 dribbles, which is indicative of the confidence that is starting to grow in the young Uruguayan playmaker.


Figure 1 shows Orlando's (left) shooting stats, for the whole 120.

Figure 2 is a clip of Orlando's goal.

Facundo Torres


Torres is really beginning to find his feet in Orlando, I do believe we will see the very best of him this season. His stats during this game make for impressive reading; he had an 88% pass completion rate from 99 passes, he was 3/6 on crosses, 5/6 on long balls and won 8/10 duels. The guy is an absolute baller. He was great coming on the inside, which then caused Fort Lauderdale's full-backs to tuck in and cover, thus freeing up space for Ruan and Kyle Smith. He was part of a fluid supporting 3, and was comfortable coming in off both flanks and operating more centrally (figure 3).

Figure 3 shows Orlando's passing network, whole 120.


Top player


Facundo Torres

I love this image, primarily because it shows Gonzalo Higuain on the deck. Gotta love it. In all seriousness, Facu was the best player on the park, closely challenged by Mauricio when he came on. Facu had a rating of 8.76 according to fotmob.com. He completed the most dribbles of any player in the match, as he sought to take the game to Fort Lauderdale. It's not difficult to see why Peñarol fans love him so much.

Player ratings


Starting XI


Stajduhar -7- Solid and dependable. Good save in the shootout.


Smith -7- Reliable as ever.

Jansson -7- Not overly tested. Distributed the ball well.

Schlegel -7- Assured performance.

Ruan -7- Got up and down the flank well.


Araujo -7- Broke up play well.

Mendez -7- As with Obi-Wan Kenobi this Friday... I'm glad he's back.


Torres -9- Best player on the park.

Urso -7- The bear was doing bear things.

Pato -6- Quiet.


Akindele -6- Decent hold up play.


Substitutes


Pereyra -8- Was class when he came on. Cool as you like from the spot too.

Kara -6- Struggled to get into it.

Lynn -6- Came in at the very death.

Halliday -7- Solid performance.

Perea -6- Fresh legs in midfield.

Moutinho -7- Provided balance on the left.


Reaction


Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“A fantastic performance. Besides the victory, it was an incredible effort from the players. They just played three days ago, so to have that courage and that willingness to do everything they did [was great]. I thought we managed the game the whole time and had the best of the game. We have been fighting to be more precise, which we’ll do. They overcame a situation in Austin that was very unfair. That was not easy to overcome mentally, so I want to recognize that effort from the players. Their hearts are big and we’re proud of that.”

*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com and mlssoccer.com

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