Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Final Score 1-0 as Orlando is Shut Out Again

Offense in 2024 is simply non-existent as the Lions again get shut out.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

John Tolkin scored on a free kick that should never have been given and Orlando City’s nonexistent attack continued to be toothless in a 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena tonight. The Lions (4-7-5, 17 points) appear headed for an early off-season after yet another shutout loss, despite New York (8-3-5, 29 points) not producing much of an attack of its own.

“A hard night for our team offensively,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I thought that we did a lot of things that we planned towards the game, where we had control and our sequences were what we wanted but our last third is not being effective, so we paid the price.”

Pareja’s lineup switched back to the 4-2-3-1, featuring Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Rodrigo Schlegel (subbing for the suspended Robin Jansson), David Brekalo, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena took their places in the defensive midfield behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Nico Lodeiro, and Facundo Torres, with Duncan McGuire returning to the lineup up top.

Orlando City was second best throughout the first half and spent most of the opening period defending. The offense was practically non-existent and Orlando lacked any confidence going forward. At the earliest sign of pressure, the Lions played the ball back into their own half. No one seemed interested in beating the man in front of them, and the attack had zero threat.

Gallese was forced into a save early in this one. After a bad turnover by Orlando led to the game’s first corner. The ball was served into the box to Noah Eile, who was well covered but placed his header well. The Peruvian did well to get his hand to the ball in the upper corner of the goal to keep it out in the fifth minute.

Much of the rest of the half consisted of Orlando City defending and New York trying to find a way through the defense.

A soft foul call on Araujo led to a free kick in the 28th minute, giving New York a free kick from about 30 yards out. Emil Forsberg sent the set piece well over the bar.

Orlando got its lone scoring chance of the first half two minutes later. A decent buildup ended up on Angulo’s foot at the top of the box. The Colombian fizzed his shot over the crossbar and that was it for the Lions’ offense in the first 45 minutes.

An extremely generous foul call on Cartagena led to New York opening the scoring. Lewis Morgan went to ground without seemingly much (if any) contact and Drew Fischer bought what Morgan was selling, giving the Red Bulls a free kick. Jon Tolkin took the set piece and smashed a shot toward the right top corner. Gallese had set his wall up on that side, but Tolkin beat the wall with pace and the Peruviani couldn’t get over to it. It went in, making it 1-0 in the 38th minute.

That was it for the offense in the match, as neither side created much after that.

Aside from a couple of unsuccessful corners for New York, that was it for the first half.

Although the Lions had the halftime advantage in possession (52.1%-47.9%) and (83.5%-81.6%), Orlando simply consisted of 11 guys on the pitch in purple uniforms. There was no threat going forward whatsoever. New York finished the half with more shots (7-1), shots on target (2-0), and corners (3-1). The Red Bulls were never threatened or made uncomfortable in any way.

Pareja sent on Luis Muriel and Ramiro Enrique to start the second half, sacrificing McGuire and Thorhallsson.

The Lions got forward early and a Muriel cross for Enrique was punched away by Carlos Coronel at the last second. Orlando could do nothing with a couple of early second-half corners.

The Lions then wasted a couple of attacks. A good ball into the area by Muriuel found Lodeiro in the box, but the Uruguayan crossed in front to the Red Bulls defense and it was knocked away. Moments later, Muriel was sent in behind and he opted not to shoot, cutting back onto his right and losing control, but he was offside anyway. Despite the flag going up, it was the second straight game Muriel has chosen not to shoot with his left foot and failed to even get an attempt on a promising attack.

Orlando finally got a shot on target in the 57th minute. After a Santos shot through traffic was blocked out for a corner, Torres’ sent a weak shot right at Coronel. It was Coronel’s only save of the match.

A minute later, Tolkin was left alone from distance and had a go, but Gallese made the save. Frankie Amaya sent a shot well over the bar in the 63rd minute from long range and then Dante Vanzeir sent a shot wide after an Orlando turnover on the ensuing goal kick. Dennis Gjengaar sent a shot wide in the 66th minute on a New York counterattack.

Santos tried to pick out Enrique in front in the 68th minute but overshot the target, and then he was sent in behind the defense and had a shot blocked, but the flag came up anyway.

New York thought it had doubled the lead in the 71st minute when Elias Manoel put the ball in the net from distance, but Tolkin was called for holding Angulo on the play. The New York defender was injured on the play and had to come off.

Lodeiro found himself in the box with the ball in the 78th minute, but the midfielder tried to pass instead of shooting and had no teammates making a run in the area, wasting a promising attack.

Pareja sent on offensive players Jack Lynn and Martin Ojeda in the 81st minute, and the Lions held more possession late, but they couldn’t produce any final product. Angulo broke free at the corner of the box in the 83rd minute and tried to pick out a teammate at the top of the box, but he succeeded only in passing the ball to the New York defense. Angulo then won a corner in the 86th minute but was called for a soft foul and was booked for dissent.

A through ball nearly found Enrique in the 89th minute but the Argentine couldn’t catch up to it and Coronel smothered it. Orlando then sent a corner kick straight to Coronel in the 91st minute on what was effectively the team’s final chance to score in the match.

Gallese did well to tip Lewis Morgan’s shot wide on a late counterattack, and that was that. The Lions are now winless in three (0-2-1) and are falling further adrift of the playoff places in a season that appears headed to an early conclusion. It’s simply hard to imagine this team figuring its way forward in the same manner it did last season.

Although the Lions held more possession (57.4%-42.6%), passed more accurately (85.2%-75.7%), and won more corners (5-4), but weren’t threatening at all. New York finished with more shots (13-4) and shots on target (4-1) in what may be the weakest attacking effort in a season of nonexistent offense.

“We have to keep going,” Enrique said. “We’re a very united group and we know that we have to pick our heads up and continue working to find our way back. It was a very tough and hard-working game because of the way that both teams like to play. They were able to score a goal just before halftime, and I think throughout the game we didn’t have the clarity to be able to finish, or in a lot of cases to be able to shoot on goal, but we know that there’s a lot of games left and that this group is incredibly hard-working and united, and we know that we’re going to continue to work to find our way back.”

“I think it’s a point in our analysis that we’re trying to see if we can help with the structure and trying to glue the player in a situation that they can feel more precise and closer to their best level and performances,” Pareja said. “That job belongs to the coach and you know that I assume that responsibility 100%. At this point we have to keep on searching to see if what we tried in the last five games, trying to change the structure, if it’s necessary to keep doing it. We have to find some other roads to get better in that regard. We are aware. We’re very disappoitned in not being that team that can be heavy in that last third of the field. When we arrive in the box, it seems like we don’t have that punch.”

Things won’t get any easier, as Orlando City will try to turn things around at home on June 15 against LAFC after a week off for the international break.


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