Analysis: Minnesota United (a). Battling Lions Earn Hard Fought Win.
*As usual there are mild spoilers ahead for chapter 23 of The Mandalorian for some reason.
Was it champagne style, swashbuckling, Real Madrid-esque football? No. Did our goalkeeper have to bail us out a few times? Yes. Have I moaned about that this season? Yes. Was it a hard fought, well earned, smash and grab away performance? Yes, sir. Is this too many questions for one paragraph? Probably.
In the OC Twitter verse, much of the discourse centred around Orlando's supposedly poor performance. That's not a view I necessarily subscribe to. Lots of things could have been better, but some things were done very well. Ultimately, whilst Minnesota created the better of the chances, Orlando created their own and they were clinical with them.
The stats say it all; the Loons had an XG of 2.34, 17 shots and 3 big chances. But they're a good team, and they were at home. I'd expect a lot of pressure on the Orlando goal. Comparatively, Orlando had an XG of 1.26, 12 shots on goal (2 on target) and 1 big chance. Adrian Heath's team scored 1, Oscar Pareja's 2.
What's becoming clear to me is that we just need to play every game away from home. We just need to sack off home games. We could hire out Camping World and pretend we are away. You know, deep fake style. Just like The Armourer in chapter 23 of The Mandalorian. I swear she's innocent. It's a deep fake. My money is on Axe Woves or the 'survivors'.
Any way, without further ado, let's get into it.
Antonio Carlos gives Orlando greater balance
The big Brazilian has been a huge miss for the team. Generally speaking, this team is better with him in it. He's great in a central defensive 2, but I REALLY like him in a 3. Primarily because of his distribution and ability to switch the play. We see an excellent of example of this with the equaliser; he takes up a position on the right hand side and hits an excellent cross field pass to Gastón González, who then fires an excellent cross into a great area and Ivan Angulo does the rest (figure 1).
Figure 1 is a clip of the first goal for Orlando.
This is something we saw a lot of from the former Palmeiras defender, as he completed 7 of his 9 long passes. He was progressive in terms of his passing (figure 2). His positioning on the right hand side of the 3 also gave Angulo the ability to push on from a wing-back position (figure 3), safe in the knowledge he had an insurance policy behind him.
As well as giving Orlando a greater springboard to attack, the back 3, Antonio Carlos in particular, defended excellently all game; the Orlando stalwart blocked 2 shots, made 2 clearances, 2 headed clearances, 2 interceptions and 3 recoveries. You might even say he was a 'Wonder Wall'. Ha, geddit?
Figure 2 is Antonio Carlos' pass positioning matrix, whole 90.
Figure 3 is Angulo's heat map, whole 90.
The Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra, Martin Ojeda trifecta
Something which has been mentioned a lot on Twitter, and was highlighted by Calen Carr on comms, was the issue of Orlando's creative triumvirate often occupying the same spaces. This was something I picked up on as well. Whilst the disconnects between the three were apparent, I believe there were tentative signs of chemistry between them. Not least with the equaliser (again, figure 1).
Ramiro Enrique probably doesn't help. And I don't mean that in a critical way, but because he also likes to drop deep that area of the field can often become quite congested, as was the case in St. Paul on Saturday night (figure 4).
And this isn't me criticising Enrique; I like him as a player, but I felt like McGuire opened up a little more space occupying the centre backs (figure 5). It seemed like, although the sample size in terms of this game was relatively small, that McGuire opened up a little more space for Torres and Pereyra. Although it is worth noting that Martin Ojeda had gone off for Felipe by the time of McGuire's introduction. I'd like to see more of the 4 of them together, to accurately judge this assertion.
Alas, Enrique, Torres, Ojeda and Pereyra certainly occupied a lot of the same spaces in this game (figure 6), which was problematic at times.
Figure 4 shows Orlando City's passing network.
Figure 5 shows Duncan McGuire's touch map.
Figure 6 shows the touch map for Enrique, Torres, Ojeda and Pereyra.
This was a fine performance from the Colombian, who took his goal excellently. His 8.1 rating on fotmob.com was team leading. He may not have had the most active of games in terms of attacking involvements; he only had 1 successful cross and 1 pass into the final third, but he was absolutely instrumental to both goals. His XG of 0.39 also highlights how tough his chance was. Game changer.
Gallese -8- Another big display for El Pulpo.
Angulo -9- Difference maker.
Antonio Carlos -8- It's great to have him back.
Jansson -7- Solid display.
Schlegel -7- Didn't put a foot wrong.
Gonzalez -7- Got forward well. Great cross for Angulo.
Pereyra -7- Moved the ball well, between the lines.
Araujo -7- Did the dirty stuff well.
Torres -6- Found space hard to come by.
Ojeda -7- Clever play for the equaliser.
Enrique -6- Struggled to make an impact.
McGuire -7- Jonny on the spot.
Þórhallsson -6- Helped see out the win.
Felipe -7- Helped to shore up the midfield and provide more space in the final third.
Petrasso -6- Helped close things out.
Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja
"Very good victory and credit to this group of players who overcame this moment. Coming to Minnesota and getting this win is very important for our group. The first 15 minutes we suffered a little and then we settled into the game and after that I thought we dominated in many parts of the match. We created situations and contained them as well in moments that they had, but the most important part was when we were losing 1-0 and the courage of the players to come back into the game. They tied it up and after that just with the same ambition, going and looking for the three points and that’s what I highlight the most is that effort. We’re very proud of them.”
*Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Media availability footage and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.
All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com, whoscored.com and MLSsoccer.com.