Orlando City hit the road this week to for the club’s 10th match of the season. OCSC was unable to win back-to-back matches and dropped their first points on the road in disappointing fashion in Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Montreal.
Here are my five takeaways from a match worth quickly forgetting.
Starting XI Continuity
Conventional wisdom would suggest that rolling out the same starting lineup that saw Orlando City win last week against the L.A. Galaxy could be the springboard for the club to earn three points on the road against CF Montreal. Conventional wisdom was wrong. The hope throughout much of the last week was that the improvement in overall chemistry built by a first-choice starting lineup finally playing together would lead to more positive results. Instead, we witnessed more of the same, with squandered opportunities on the offensive side and defensive breakdowns at the worst possible times.
Dumb Luck Turns the Match for Montreal
It was an ugly, choppy match overall, but Orlando City started the game as the better side over the first half hour. The hosts came into the game a bit in the final 15 minutes before halftime and then a plodding affair in the second half was mostly uneventful until a break went Montreal’s way. Aaron Herrera picked up the scraps from a Rudy Camacho shot off the post, cut to his left and sent a shot that would have gone nowhere near Pedro Gallese’s goal, had it not hit Robin Jansson and deflected in. That allowed Montreal to settle in and the hosts put the game away a few minutes later. That ball could have gone anywhere, but it went exactly where Montreal wanted and Orlando City didn’t.
Plenty of Shots…No Goals
Orlando City played with purpose for much of the first half and started the game with an aggressive attack that seemed to catch Montreal off guard. The problem is that while the team — and its Designated Players, specifically — are generating plenty of shots toward the net, there is a significant disconnect with goal-scoring opportunities finding the target, let alone hitting the back of the net. The players currently on the field tasked with scoring the ball lack a certain degree of surgical precision. Orlando City finished the match with 13 shot attempts and only two of those were credited as on frame — both by Ercan Kara, but neither exactly menacing. Those types of numbers simply are not good enough to win matches.
The first 15 minutes of the second half got off to a somewhat boring start with neither squad looking very crisp. Montreal sent on Romell Quioto, who was working his way back from a thigh injury, and suddenly all heck broke loose inside the Orlando City box. We’ve already discussed the Herrera shot that hit Robin Jansson’s chest and deflected into the back of the net. But only four minutes later, Herrera passed to Bryce Duke, ran past Ivan Angulo, and received a return pass. As the attention focused on him, no one bothered to mark Quioto in the box, and the Montreal striker calmy slotted home a one -timer. In the span of less than five minutes, City’s hopes of earning a result on the road were dashed.
Lack of Movement
Possession is nine-tenths of the law, but as it turns out, possession for the sake of possession might not be the best way to control a match. Orlando City played slow and often the ball movement was severely lacking against Montreal. On a roster filled with talented and young, attack-minded players there is no excuse for slow and sloppy ball movement. There was too much indecision and too little precision with the final pass or shot. It is unclear what the fix for this issue may be, but if Orlando City plans to climb the table and compete for a home playoff berth, it needs to figure out the proper pace and how to move the ball quicker throughout the formation, and to be more clinical when it does.
Those were the things that stood out to me in a forgettable road match against the Lions’ foes from the north. Orlando City has already seen its fair share of knockout matches this year and will need a top-tier effort if it is to take down Charlette FC on Tuesday night.
Let us know what stood out to you in the comments below.