Analysis: New England Revolution (a). Orlando Dig In To Claim Precious Point On The Road.
A rare goal from Robin Jansson was enough to claim a vital point on the road for Oscar Pareja's team. In what was probably the fairest result on the night, Orlando showed grit and determination to grind out this result. Even though the Revs aren't quite the force they were last season, a point in Foxborough is never a bad result, so Orlando can be pleased with their efforts. The draw keeps Orlando firmly ensconced in the play-off places as we pass into the second third of the season.
The game was rather tempestuous in its very nature; there were 43 fouls and 8 yellow cards in total. The Lions did well to maintain their discipline at times. Orlando were dogged and didn't allow themselves to be intimidated, nor did they allow themselves to lose focus at any point. This was a disciplined performance and one that Oscar Pareja can be very pleased with.
Possession play and link up in the final third
One thing that stuck out to me, after watching the game back was how well Orlando took care of the ball. The off ball movement and overall shape of the team was very pleasing. Orlando were able to complete 84% of their passes (figure 1) whilst holding a very respectable 47% of the overall play.
The team's movement off the ball was key to their ability to maintain decent possession. Mauricio Pereyra and Junior Urso completed 84% and 90% of their passes overall. Both were very good at moving between the lines, whilst Jake Mulraney and Facundo Torres held wide positions to free up space in the middle. There were also tentative signs of Torres starting to gel with his fellow attackers; as can be seen in the passing network graphic in figure 2.
It was the off the ball movement that impressed me most, though. It wasn't the most complete performance from Orlando. You're realistically never going to have that in Boston, the Revs won't let you. They're good at closing the opposition down and winning the ball back. They don't press particularly high, but they're well organised in their shape and are very good at closing passing lanes and nullifying the space.
All that being said, however, Orlando made good use of the ball when they did find space. For example in figure 3, we see an example of what I referenced earlier; Mulraney and Alexandre Pato peel wide and open space in the middle. Orlando are able to go and work the goalkeeper from this position. As I say, it wasn't a complete performance, but it was enough to get a decent point on the road. And on another day they might have had one or two more goals.
Figure 1 shows some of Orlando's (right) passing and possession statistics, whole 90.
Figure 2 shows Orlando's passing network graphic, whole 90.
Figure 3 is a game still from the first half.
Orlando have often been guilty of caving in after a goal has been conceded this season; Orlando have yet to win after falling a goal behind, and on a few occasions have fallen further behind shortly after. See LAFC, Red Bulls and Montréal. They made sure that didn't happen in New England, though.
And this wasn't just about the back-line. The whole team dug their heels in and helped to grind out the point. Orlando won 13 tackles, 4 interceptions and completed 26 clearances as a team. They also completely outperformed New England in terms of the number of duels they won (figure 4) as Oscar Pareja's team battled all over the park. There is just a determination and resilience about this team. Which brings me on to my next point...
Figure 4 shows Orlando's (right) duelling statistics, whole 90.
Pedro Gallese is a king amongst men
We all know Pedro had a tough time in Qatar. Whilst I love a bit of shithousery as much as the next person, it's not cool when El Pulpo is on the receiving end. That said, Papi's comments about him wanting to play (they hadn't expected him to, see clip below) say it all. That sort of attitude permeates through this team. They might have issues with discipline at times, but no one can say this team isn't determined.
I thought the Bear moved the ball really well in the centre of the park, as his passing accuracy stats show. He got about the pitch well and like baby Leia in the new Kenobi series, wasn't afraid to get stuck it. Though, let's be honest, that's never been an issue for him. Urso won 3 recoveries and made 2 interceptions. He won 4/6 of his ground duels and his only aerial duel. He anchored the midfield well alongside Cesar Araujo.
Gallese -7- The dude is a king. Andrew Redmayne could never.
Smith -7- Solid as a rock (that songs in your head now, isn't it?)
Jansson -8- Was in contention for top player. Fabulous goal.
Schlegel -7- Solid display from Godrigo.
Moutinho -7- Got up and down the left well.
Araujo -7- Marshalled the midfield well.
Urso -8- Top performance.
Mulraney -7- Made some intelligent runs.
Pereyra -7- We're seeing the best version of him this year.
Torres -7- Really starting to come into his own.
Pato -7- Going nowhere, it's nonsense.
Akindele -6- Congratulations on the 100.
Perea -6- Provided some fresh legs in the middle.
Kara -6- Didn't get much of a kick.
Michel -6- Full of running but didn't get chance to do anything.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja: “I think it was a well played game. We have the sensation that it could have been more than a point. In certain moments we pushed and had to keep pushing, but we found in New England today a team that wanted to play the transitions, their players were dangerous there, and I think we controlled them. [It was] well played by the players. The effort after 16 days without playing was much, much better and the rhythm was better than I thought and we’ll be ready for the next one.”
Cover image and top player image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
B-roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Game still courtesy of MLS.