top of page

Join us on mobile!

Download the Spaces by Wix app and join “TheEnglishLion” to easily stay updated on the go.

Download app from the App Store
Download app from Google Play
  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: New York Red Bulls (a). Orlando Slump To Another Defeat.

Limp. Lacklustre. Listless.

All words I'd use to describe Orlando City's performance. Not just in this game, but on the season as a whole.

It's been a mess.

It's just not good enough. This season promised so much. Oscar Pareja's selection and formation choice were baffling. Wilder Cartagena has done OK as a stand in centre back. But if Pareja doesn't trust Rodrigo Schlegel in a two then he shouldn't be on the pitch. It comes back to what I said last week, it's all down to poor planning. We have no control in midfield. Orlando anywhere. We were at our best, last season with the 4-2-3-1.

The formation in New Jersey seemed to float between a 3-4-3 and a 3-4-2-1, but truthfully it just felt like a set up to shoe horn everybody in.

Except Tincho Ojeda, who must have ran over Oscar's dog or something, because his continued exclusion is unfathomable. I mean, he's a DP? Pareja didn't trust him last year, so why not move him on or buy him down? Sergio Ramos is available, that slot could be used on somebody of that ilk at centre-back.

Despite all of that, in terms of the names on the team sheet, there were good players in that XI. There was enough quality there to at least make the Red Bulls sweat.

That never happened. Anyway let's get into this shit show I guess...

Oscar Pareja and the Wilf family

In case you hadn't already worked it out, this is going to be one of those pieces where I just have a bit of a rant and a moan.

Now, the 'Papi in or out' debate will surely begin in earnest.

Personally, I think his time is up. I don't think he's the man to deliver the success we want and crave. That's not to shit all over his legacy though. He has done a great job with us, he's taken us onto that next level. I liken it to when Claudio Ranieri lost the Chelsea job in the early 2000s. They suddenly had all this cash and the ambition that comes with it and they sacked Ranieri after a top 4 finish.

Who came in? Jose Mourinho. And then came the trophies. Ranieri took Chelsea to a good level; they weren't always regular Champions League contenders. They were there or thereabouts but Ranieri really established them there. Then Mourinho took them to the next level.

We need that next level coach. That's just my two cents.

Anyway, I digress. The 'Papi in our out' debate...

It's pointless. Let me tell you why.

Firstly, as we know, the Wilf family are NFL owners. Typically NFL franchises don't tend to change coaches in mid-season. It happens from time to time, but it's far more common in soccer. The Wilfs, as I will expand on shortly, aren't soccer people. I don't think they know how the sport works. So, they'll probably revert to type; i.e. the NFL ownership approach. As such, the debate is pointless. I can't see Luiz Muzzi petitioning for a change in head coach at this point, and I don't think the Wilfs know what to do.

Pareja will remain in situ for 2024.

Secondly, and as I've already alluded to, the owners are not soccer people. I think we saw that in the winter, with the Inter&Co stadium announcement. You just don't do that. Yet, they announced it with great fanfare. Soccer is inherently a tribal sport. I think it's fair to say the NFL is a little different. The support there is a little more transactional.

The stadium renaming as well as this front office's treatment of supporters, particularly in relation to both the Flamengo friendly and the Tigres UANL game was embarrassing. But the owners don't seem to care.

Segregation in football is commonplace outside the United States. Not so in MLS, for obvious reasons. However, it's a completely different ball game when you invite central and southern American teams to your own stadium.

The owners don't get that. They don't seem to get this sport and what it means to people. They are not soccer people.

The continued presence of rival team shirts in the stadium... I can appreciate the American sporting landscape is different to that here in Europe. Fine. But soccer is different. It means a lot to people. The fact that the owners seem completely unwilling to tackle any of these issues, just leans into my belief that either (a) they don't understand it's an issue or (b) they just don't care.

I feel the answer is somewhere in the middle. Again, not soccer people.

How does this relate to the 'Papi in our out debate', as well as Orlando City's general malaise, I hear you ask?

Well, it comes full circle to Oscar Pareja. He should be thought of as an Orlando City legend. But it is time to go. And they won't change him. So, it will be another season we finish empty handed.

This is a great squad. It should be challenging. Instead we're almost halfway through the season and I can't even figure out what our game plan is. Again. It was the same last season. We eventually, of course, pulled it together. But we ultimately finished with nothing to show for it. We bottled the play-offs again. No trophies. Nothing.

This is an Oscar Pareja at Orlando City trend. His team's start badly and then recover. But, now all of the silverware is off the table. Except for MLS Cup and Leagues Cup. But, let's be realistic here, we're not winning either. We may not even qualify for the former.

Then what?

The game itself

The stats from the game in Red Bull Arena make for grim reading. An XG of 0.39, 5 shots on goal, no big chances created (figure 1). We had 64% of the possession! Yet we looked completely incapable of even making the slightest foray towards their goal. Carlos Miguel in the Red Bull goal may as well have bought his sudoku out with him. None of the measly 5 shots we did take were particularly menacing.

It was an awful performance.

I'm not sure there's too much else I can add. The players looked bemused. The look on Pedro Gallese's face as he was left clutching at thin air says it all.

Figure 1 shows some key stats from the game.

Figure 2 shows some key shooting stats.

Top player

Player ratings

Starting XI and substitutes were all


Opening Statement

"A hard night for our team offensively. I thought we did a lot of things that we planned towards the game where we had control in our operations and our sequences and where we wanted. Our last third is not being effective, so we paid the price for things, and they scored on something that we don’t do. That is a disappointment as well. We will continue and try to polish things off and reorganize. We will take this [upcoming international] break as a way to reshape the group and see how we can bounce back.”

*All statistics courtesy of Fotmob.

Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.

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


bottom of page