We’ve seen this before. I’ve written this recap before. City dominates the stats everywhere except where it counts: goals scored. This one was a little easier to figure out than previous losses to Charlotte or Cincinnati. Probably because we’ve heard this song before: opponent waits for City to make a defensive mistake and rips a goal on a counter-attack or a set piece. It’s standard operating procedure for teams that know they can’t play possession soccer against us. It’s unfortunately effective for teams cynical enough to play like that. Hell, it might be the best game plan for any team playing us. Oh, look, Charleston and Rochester are just ahead in the fixture list. Hm.
Ok, let’s talk numbers. Orlando was perfectly happy to let LouCity have the ball, run ragged, and beat the back line with pace. City had 66.7% possession, 16 corner kicks to OCB’s two, nearly double the number of pass attempts, 38 crosses to their five, twenty shots to their eight. Orlando had fifty clearances on the night. Those numbers are in bold because they’re ridiculous; so ridiculous that you have to believe it was part of a plan.
Frankly, Orlando didn’t really have to do anything but stack the 18 yard box with bodies after the second goal. That’s largely what they did:
They also used dedicated fullbacks to man mark George Davis IV and Oscar on the wings, and put an extra man in midfield with Timbo and Lewis Neal to frustrate Guy Abend and Paolo DelPiccolo. Both Guy and Paolo actually had decent nights on the stat sheet, but they were decidedly held in check offensively. Neither Guy nor Paolo could do much to create offense other than shuttle the ball out to the wings where a fullback was already draped over their man.
Oscar had a night he might like back, passing just 24 times all night, just over 57% in the opposing half. He did create six scoring chances, and visibly hustled up and down the touch line all night. He can be forgiven for not having a stellar day, as he played nearly 270 minutes in one week.
I’d keep going but it’s more of the same. This loss was more down to an inability to adjust to a defend-and-counter tactic. It’s hard to fathom, given the fact that most of City’s losses this season look nearly identical to this one. It’s even more difficult to grasp when one considers that this was the team’s third game in seven days. Maybe it would have been smarter to do that from a fitness standpoint than try to run Orlando off the field with short passes and crosses into the box. No one on the team would use fatigue as an excuse, but perhaps playing a more boring style that doesn’t require Sean Totsch to cover nine miles of turf for the third time in a week would have been more sensible.
In the grand scheme, this loss isn’t that bad. It was probably avoidable. I am, however, getting chagrined over the fact that it is so similar to previous defeats. Fix that against a foundering Charleston Battery on Saturday, please and thanks.