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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Minnesota United (h). Self Inflicted Wounds Again As Orlando City Fall At Home.

Anyone else getting a serious sense of déjà vu? In 2023 Orlando City started poorly as they struggled to get to grips with juggling MLS and CONCACAF play.


It seems like history might be repeating itself.


There is one key difference, however. We all remember the debates regarding the future of Oscar Pareja. You were either 'Papi in' or 'Papi out'. There was a reason for that. At the time Orlando's play was stodgy, lacking in imagination and tactically one dimensional.



That's not the case this time around. As in Fort Lauderdale, the tactical set up was fine. We actually played a lot of good football in this game. It's the individual errors that are costing us.


I'm just not sure how much you can blame Papi for Pedro Gallese's nonchalance when being charged down by Teemu Pukki or Robin Jansson's inexplicable decision to step out of defense in the 95th minute to win a header he was never going to win.


These are all individual mistakes that should not be happening.



In short, I think this is another defeat that's on the players in all honesty. Just silly mistakes at crucial times. Good teams punish you, which is exactly what Minnesota did.


Disappointed, I am.



Attacking play


One look at Orlando's XG statistics will tell you all you need to know. Going into the game, there were understandable doubts about the proficiency of this attack during this early part of the season. Afterall, blanks against CF Montréal, Inter Fort Lauderdale and Tigres were unexpected.


There was nothing wrong with Orlando's attacking play in this game... Well, maybe aside from needing a slightly more clinical edge. Duncan McGuire took both goals with aplomb, but his teammates were decidedly more forgiving in front of goal.


An XG of 3.91 from 22 shots and 7, yes 7, big chances vs an XG of 1.24 from 9 shots should have ended in a resounding Orlando City victory.


Yet the team left Orlando City stadium with nothing to show for their efforts. Orlando have to find a way to finish their chances. So far this season, in terms of MLS play, Orlando are 3rd overall in XG with 5.7. Yet they languish in 20th for goals per game. Orlando are 4th for XGc (expected goals conceded) and are joint bottom for goals conceded per match (figure 1).


We are wasting chances and conceding high quality ones on a regular basis. It's a recipe for disaster. The players have to find a way to get these sloppy mistakes out of their system.


Have to.


Figure 1 shows the MLS goals conceded per match statistics.




Defensive mistakes... Again


All 3 goals were absolutely preventable. That's the thing that frustrates me most. The first goal, I won't spend a huge amount of time on, because anyone can see what went wrong there. Gallese, made an uncharacteristic mistake, and dilly dallied (there's a British-ism for you) on the ball. Pukki, the former Norwich City striker, does what all good strikers do and sees his chance.


The second goal is a little more nuanced, but still eminently preventable. As in Fort Lauderdale on multiple occasions last week, Rodrigo Schlegel is caught napping. He switches off for a second and allows Pukki half a yard (figure 2). He fails to get goal side and the Finn rips a shot that, if we're being totally honest, Gallese should save. It might seem like I'm nit picking with Schlegel here, but you just can't allow good players to get a march on you. Pukki is a seasoned vet, who's scored goals in the Premier League and Championship over here in England. Give him that sort of time and space and he will hurt you.


For me, Schlegel's continued inclusion is baffling. He must have some serious dirt on Papi. He did well last season, at times, but you can't rely on him as a starting centre back.


The third goal is also a bit of a mess. Jansson has no need to go and try and win that ball. He was never going to. In stepping up, he leaves a gap (figure 3), no-one else squeezes up and Schlegel, who is slow to react (again), has no cover. Michael Halliday loses Bongokuhle Hlongwane and that's it. Just let Tani Oluwaseyi flick that ball on and win the second ball. He's 6 ft 2 and has a more athletic leap. Jansson is never winning that header. Halliday is ball watching. Schlegel is just hanging around in the middle. It's a mess.


We have to cut out these mistakes and be more ruthless in front of goal.


It's


Figure 2 is a game still from the first half.


Figure 3 is a game still from the second half.


Top player


Duncan McGuire



The young forward again showed his tremendous finishing abilities. His historic first, the quickest goal in club history after 14 seconds, was instinctive. Predatory. Regular readers will know I've always been high on this kid and that goal showcased exactly why. You can't teach that. The second is a rasping finish. It seems inevitable he will depart when the European transfer window re-opens in the summer. Enjoy him whilst you can.



Player ratings


Starting XI


Gallese -5- Probably his worst game.


Þórhallsson -6- Put in a shift.

Schlegel -5- I just can't right now.

Jansson -6- Rush of blood to the head for the 3rd goal.

Rafael Santos -7- Got forward well.


Felipe -6- Struggled.

Araújo -6- Looked a little lost at times.


Angulo -6- Needs better decision making at times.

Ojeda -7- Was lively.

Enrique -6- Looked like his confidence was on the floor.


McGuire -9- Star of the show.


Substitutes


Cartagena -6- Red card after the game.

Halliday -6- Caught napping for the goal.

Muriel -6- Struggled to make an impact.

Lodeiro -7- Helped make us a little better in transition.


Reaction


Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja


"We are trying to calm down from a game that brought us a lot of emotions and with the disappointment of not getting the result. It is hard for me to talk about who deserved to win the game and I don’t want to face that. I want to just accept that they [Minnesota] scored three goals, and we couldn’t score more than two. We lost the game that surely will create pain for us. We have to bounce back immediately because we have no time. Despite all the things that happened we have to stand up and face the next game because we have a short period to recover.” 





*Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Media availability and b-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.

All statistics courtesy of Fotmob.com

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