Analysis: Philadelphia Union (h). Frustration As Orlando Let's The Lead Slip.
Whilst I'd have taken a point, had it been offered to me, before the game, the way this point has come to fruition has left me with a bitter taste in the mouth. To be in such a commanding position, and not win the game, is difficult to fathom.
But Orlando only have themselves to blame. They allowed Philadelphia to gain a foothold in the game by switching off at key moments and by not maintaining their intensity when in moments of defensive transition.
They were too passive at key moments.
I wouldn't dare to propose Orlando City played exceptionally well in getting 2 goals ahead. The performance was OK; that's about as far as I'd go. The Lions, aside from the 2 goals and an unlucky late Rafael Santos effort, created little of note. Philadelphia had, had more shots (5/6) and more possession (53.7%) until Orlando doubled their lead. It got worse after Duncan McGuire had unintentionally taken Tincho Ojeda's shot out of the reach of Joe Bendik in the Union goal. After the aforementioned goal, the Union took control; they had 59.3% of the play, 6 shots to Orlando's 2 and they won more tackles. Orlando dropped far too deep. Their defensive line, dropped deeper and deeper.
Orlando City were far too passive and deserved to give up the win. This passivity was perfectly encapsulated by the two goals Orlando City gave up...
You've got to want to defend a lead
You have to want it more than your opponent. And we didn't. It's the same issue for both goals, Orlando do not close down the initial cross. They seem perfectly happy to let the Union put crosses into the area. If Mauricio Pereyra (for the first goal) and Dagur Dan Þórhallsson and Ivan Angulo (second), put any sort of pressure on the ball those goals likely don't happen.
People will likely attribute much of the fault for the first goal to Mason Stajduhar, this is folly. As Danny Higginbotham correctly points out, he has to anticipate the touch from Julian Carranza or Antonio Carlos. It doesn't happen and there's very little he can do.
If Pereyra (figure 1), puts any sort of pressure on the initial ball, Jack McGlynn doesn't have the freedom of Parramore to clip that ball towards goal.
Figure 1 is a clip of McGlynn's goal.
There's a similar issue with the second goal. Take nothing away from José Martínez. It's a wonder strike, which would leave most goalkeepers in world football clutching at thin air. You can't legislate, at all, for the actual strike. You can, however, legislate for what happened immediately before it. It's the failure to close down the initial cross which I want to highlight. Both Dagur Dan and Angulo just stand off and make no attempt to close down the cross (figure 2). You don't just allow crosses to come into your area. It's sloppy. Again, they put any sort of pressure on the ball and there's likely no issue. I realise I'm being hyper critical here, but at this level, against good teams, these moments are the margins between victory and defeat.
Figure 2 is a clip of Martínez's goal.
And, as they clearly did not learn their lesson, the Union almost stole the win in a similar situation. Just after Rafael Santos' shot unfortunately clipped the cross bar, the Union broke down the other end, again fail to put any pressure on the ball and the Union almost win the game (figure 3).
Figure 3 is a clip of the late Uhre chance.
We didn't get PRO'd
I know I'm going to get absolutely slaughtered here... In a week where MLS announced Marvel collaborations, Ercan Kara went all Hulky, barging his way through the Philadelphia defence before excellently teeing up Angulo. It's a fabulous run, and I'm absolutely gutted that it was all for nought. But... It's a foul. At the initial first phase of play, Kara catches the Union player with an elbow (figure 4). It's a soft foul. But it's a foul in today's game. And because it's at the first phase of play, VAR has to get involved. I'd be annoyed if that goal was given against us.
Figure 4 shows the disallowed goal and prior foul.
Orlando runs on Duncan...
I don't even like Dunkin' Donuts... But I'm tempted to pay the overrated donut chain a visit today. Just in tribute to our Duncan. At the time of writing, McGuire hasn't been credited for the second goal. They gave it to him in the commentary, but the MLS website currently has it down as an Ojeda goal. For me, the little deflection off of McGuire is what takes the ball past Joe Bendik.
Still, his all round performance was great. He led the line excellently and has surely done enough to nail down a starting berth. His hold up play, his control and his movement were all very good. He's a great player who, I believe, is destined for a top 5 league. He has all of the physical attributes to compete in the Bundesliga or the Premier League. He might even be better than Daryl Dike was in Orlando. I rate him that highly.
The Nebraskan native's stock grows higher with each passing appearance. He displayed remarkable tenacity and desire, as well as technique, in scoring his 6th goal of the season. He had an overall XG of 0.20, whilst the chance had an XG of 0.36, which tells you how much work he had to do.
Stajduhar -7- Nothing he could do about either goal, and made a couple of smart saves.
Smith -7- Him tucking into midfield helps with possession.
Antonio Carlos -7- Solid performance.
Jansson -7- Didn't do much wrong.
Santos -6- Couple of misplaced touches and he got caught out of position a few times.
Felipe -6- Looked rusty.
Araujo -7- Recycled possession well.
Angulo -7- Was direct.
Pereyra -6- Not his best game.
Ojeda -7- Drifted between the lines well.
McGuire -8- Led the line superbly.
Schlegel -6- Didn't do much wrong.
Þórhallsson -6- Needs to do better with the second goal.
Enrique -6- Not much of an impact.
Kara -7- Gutted that assist was chalked off.
González -6- Not much of an impact.
Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja
"The effort of the players today after what we had to go through this week has been phenomenal. It was obvious that during the game we were losing energy, but the boys had the personality to move, stay calm, and try to match a good team [Philadelphia Union] and even position the game the way we had it. The frustration that I have and that everybody has with the [final] decision is incredible. I'd rather control my words and get to work on bettering the things that we need to control and concentrate on those key moments that are haunting us. It’s painful, but we keep going. We had a quick turnaround against Seattle. The boys need to recover and the boys that are coming from national team [duty] will join us too but, for the players, nothing but my respect for that effort tonight.”
Top player image and cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Media availability footage and B-Roll footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.