• Dan Berridge

Analysis: Philadelphia Union (h). Orlando Are Edged Out By Philly.

It's frustrating being an Orlando City supporter just now. And not to be overly pessimistic, I don't see it getting any better, any time soon. Orlando City played this game much more aggressively than they did against Atlanta United, although they lacked the quality to break down one of the best defences in the league. And on the infrequent occasions that they did, they weren't able to cash in.

I worry that this team has become too predictable. Philadelphia did a pretty good job of shutting down the space for Mauricio Pereyra and, as a result, Orlando struggled to get anything going in an attacking sense. There just didn't seem to be anything going for the Lions. It wasn't for a want of trying... They just couldn't seem to get it done.

Orlando's lack of creativity

This is an on-going problem, we know that. In Atlanta, Orlando's lack of creativity was primarily downing to their seemingly unrelenting lack of desire to attack. Here, they huffed and they puffed, but were just met with a stern defensive response from Philadelphia time after time. The Lions had no means of breaking the Union down.

We are a predictable side. Teams know that if they stop Mauricio Pereyra, they stop Orlando City. The Uruguayan had 59 touches and only played 46 passes (figure 1). They're relatively low numbers for him. Philadelphia did a great job of harrying him and cutting off passing lanes to the influential former Krasnodar man.

Pereyra had some joy linking up with Facundo Torres, but that was about it. He wasn't able to connect with Ercan Kara or Jake Mulraney enough (figure 2). Which I think was on the two of them. Mulraney had 18 touches all game (figure 3). Compare that to Torres, who had 71... For me Mulraney doesn't do enough. I'm not sure he warrants a place in the team... In fact, I am pretty sure he doesn't.

Kara needs to make himself more available, but then he gets no service. He's not mobile enough to run that line himself. He just isn't.

We are carrying too many players right now. Jake Mulraney is one, Ruan another. I have always been a fan of his, he's always been my 'Ruan and only'. But he doesn't warrant a spot in the XI right now. I'm sorry, he doesn't. He's been suspect defensively all season. He offers nothing in attack. His final ball has always been questionable, but at least his driving runs used to invite panic. We don't even see them anymore.

We just look very one dimensional as a team. It was all too predictable for the Union. I would argue that Kyle Smith should be the starting right-back. He's had a few iffy games, and isn't exactly renowned for his explosive attacking plays... But at least he swings a decent ball in every now and then. I'd also like to see Alexandre Pato play a bit more. Give him, Pereyra and Torres the freedom to roam. Stretch the play with Smith and Joao Moutinho down either side and have at it. But then, what do I know?

I know this, whatever it is they are doing right now, it isn't working.

Figure 1 shows some of Mauricio Pereyra's attacking statistics.

Figure 2 shows Orlando's passing network matrix.

Figure 3 shows Jake Mulraney's attacking statistics.


The call on Antonio Carlos was just yet another example of gross incompetence on the part of a 'PRO' referee. In fairness, the VAR, did exactly what it was supposed to do. It informed Alex Chilowicz that a clear and obvious error had been made.... Chilowicz has gone to the monitor and bizarrely come to the conclusion that this wasn't a foul (figures 4, 5 & 6).

It was such a blatant penalty. Daniel Gazdag just straight up hauls him to the floor. It's a WWE move. It sort of reminded me of the scene where Iron Man tackles Thor mid-air in Avengers Assemble. Gazdag just straight took Antonio Carlos out. It's as clear and obvious a penalty as you're likely to see all weekend.

Horrendous decision. The official explanation was that Antonio Carlos had a hold of Gazdag's shirt first. I have watched the footage a dozen times, and cannot see how he determines that. I realise the footage on the monitor is more comprehensive, but even if you scrub the tape below back to the corner coming in... It seems clear to me that Gazdag is the guilty party here. It feels like Orlando City have drawn the short straw, yet again.

Figure 4 is an image of Antonio Carlos being fouled during the incident.

Figure 5 is an image of Antonio Carlos being fouled during the incident.

Figure 5 is a clip of the incident.

Top player

Facundo Torres

Looked the most likely to make something happen. He probably should have scored in the first half, cutting in on his left foot and curling an effort just wide of the post. Torres completed 90% of his 52 passes and was 2/4 on successful dribbles. With 5 shots, he was definitely Orlando's biggest goal threat, on a night where they struggled to create anything clear-cut.

Player ratings

Starting XI

Gallese -6- Not overly stretched, not sure there was too much he could do about the goal.

Moutinho -7- One of Orlando's better players on the night.

Jansson -6- Looked off the pace at times.

Schlegel -7- Had a solid game.

Ruan -6- Crossing continues to leave a lot to be desired.

Araujo -7- Disciplined performance in the centre.

Perea -6- Offered little. Gave the ball away carelessly at times.

Torres -7- Looked to be Orlando's most likely source of creativity.

Pereyra -6- Struggled to get into the game.

Mulraney -6- Hardly got into the game.

Kara -6- No service but didn't offer much.


Michel -5- Offered very little.

Antonio Carlos -6- It was a pen.

Lynn -6- Came in very late.

Akindele -6- Hustled.

Pato -6- Unable to get anything going.

Urso -6- Added some fresh legs in the middle.


Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“I am not going to blame that [VAR call], we will take the responsibility of the result. We have to be very clear to say that we had some chances, especially in the first half where we have to go up in the game. [Against] a team that defends well, you have to be polished. We couldn’t do it. After that it was a messy game for me. I don’t think it had a lot of continuity and [a lot of] stops in the game. Players would lay on the ground. That frustrated us more and we lost clarity to create more and the game became messy because we didn’t have any flow. The game would stop every three minutes. It was difficult. The second half was frustrating.”

*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.

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

Figures 4 & 5 courtesy of Orlando City SC.

Game footage credit to MLS.