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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Analysis: Tigres UANL (h). Orlando Fight Hard, But Old Deficiencies Ultimately Cost The Lions

It was surely a night to be proud of our Lions, who fought until the very last kick of the game. Ercan Kara's stunning bicycle kick wasn't enough, after Tigres had taken the lead through Francisco Cordova.


It just wasn't meant to be.


Whilst it cannot be denied that Orlando finished the game strongly and arguably could have gone on to win it, had the game gone on for a few minutes longer, there are some worrying aspects of our play that just do not seem to want to go away. Orlando continue to start sluggishly and are often relying on Pedro to keep them in games.



Slow start


It was another frustratingly lacklustre start from Orlando City, who again allowed their opponents to take the initiative. The visitors could have been 3 goals to the good, by the half, if not for the inspired interventions of Pedro Gallese. Again.


This is a worrying trend that Orlando seem to have started. According to fotmob.com, El Pulpo's average rating in MLS is 7.70 and 8.40 for CCL. That's great that he's playing well and it's certainly a good thing for us. However, what is not so good, is that we are already 5 games into our season, and you could argue that Gallese has been player of the match in all 5 of them.


We are constantly looking at Gallese to bail us out.


We just seem to make some ridiculous mistakes, at times, which then lead to shots on our goal. Look at the clip in figure 1. It's just a careless giveaway in midfield. We then give Luis Quinones far too much time and space for him to rip a shot towards our goal. Fortunately for Orlando, Gallese is up to the task. Again.


Figure 1 is a clip from the first half.


Their first sighter at goal came in the 9th minute, which was then followed by an even better chance 5 minutes later. If you watch the clip in figure 2, you'll see that Orlando fail to deal with a deep cross to the back post. This was a mistake that would repeat 7 minutes later, with the goal.


Luca Petrasso doesn't challenge well enough for the initial header, which allows Nicolas Ibañez to plant a header towards goal. Gallese claws it out, but only as far as Fernando Gorriaran. Thankfully, the Uruguayan blazes wide.


Figure 2 is a clip from the first half.


The same happens for their goal. The ball into the area isn't dealt with by Petrasso, and Francisco Cordova is the coolest man in the building as he touches the ball inside and rifles past Gallese. Petrasso letting the ball bounce is such a basic error. You never let the ball bounce like that in your own area. If he just gets something on it, anything, he gives himself a chance to clear the ball. He doesn't and Tigres make him pay, as top teams do.


Figure 3 is a clip of the goal.



Strong finish


The last half an hour of the game was a significant improvement on the first 60. Orlando used the ball very well and showed tentative signs they are starting to click in an attacking sense. Tentative signs.


They were certainly being a bit braver on the ball and we're making more of their passes connect, chalking up an 84% pass success rate overall whilst completing 406 passes. Orlando completed significantly more passes in the opposing third than Tigres; 228-140. Their movement was much better, than it has been, overall. They were simply connecting a lot better, which was pleasing to see. I've highlighted 2 such examples in figures 4 and 5, which show Orlando constantly looking for the forward pass, whilst being much more composed on the ball.


Figure 4 is a clip from the second half.


Figure 5 is a clip from the second half.


We have to keep our discipline


We have got to get better at this. We simply have to. It's been an issue throughout Oscar Pareja's reign; in 2022 we ranked 8th in MLS for yellow card accumulation, 12th in 2021 and we led the way in 2020. We have picked up multiple red cards in each season. I don't think it's unfair to say nothing has ever really been done to improve this issue. Those ranking improvements are misleading, as the figure remains in the 60s across all 3 seasons.


It's been on-going.


I understand that soccer is an emotional sport and I completely empathise with how Oscar was feeling at the end of the game, but he has to do better in the clip below (figure 6). There will be more trying times ahead, times where a cool head will be needed. We cannot lose our sh*t every time decisions go against us. We'll get wound up. We'll get PRO'd. All of this will happen. And the buck stops with the coach.


Figure 6 shows the unsavoury scenes at the end.



Top player


Pedro Gallese



Again, the Peruvian takes all the plaudits. It's rather remiscent of the 2021 season for the Pride, where Ashlyn Harris was player of the match most weeks. It's a truly double edged sword. It's pleasing to remember we have such a reliable 'keeper between the sticks, but let's lessen his work load, shall we?



Player ratings


Starting XI


Gallese -9- Inspired form as per.


Petrasso -6- Costly error for the goal.

Jansson -7- Solid game for the Swede.

Schlegel -7- Performed reasonably well.

Halliday -7- Has made the RB slot his own.


Pereyra -7- Looked confident, particularly in the second half.

Araujo -7- Was a reliable presence in the middle.


Torres -7- One of his better games so far this season.

Angulo -6- Lively, but struggled to make an impact.

Ojeda -6- Found space hard to come by.


Enrique -6- Isolated but his movement was good.


Substitutes


Kara -8- Excellent goal.

Santos -6- Dependable.

McGuire -7- Got about well.

Þórhallsson -7- Looked assured.

Gonzalez -6- Struggled to make an impact.


Head Coach Oscar Pareja:


“We are proud of the effort that we showed in the game. Obviously, emotions are there as it is much better to wait and calm down and other things. The message was short, just expressing our pride for the effort that they made during the game. They played against a good rival, and we were there. We will go on, but we were upset as well. I know the players were upset with what had happened in the last seven minutes. Obviously, we are not bad losers. We are respectful, but we are not stupid. Congratulations to Tigres, it is a Club that I respect a lot, but we played hard."




*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.

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

Gameplay footage courtesy of Fox Soccer and Concacaf.

Media availability footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.

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