It's no secret that Orlando City's finishing touch is awful this season. Two goals in three games isn't going to get any team far and it's hard to figure why the team can't find its scoring touch. One thing that might hold OCSC back from hitting net more often might be the inability to cross the ball from wide spaces.
Orlando City's accuracy has been abysmal in the first three matches of the season. The team averages 18 crosses per game. Of those 18 crosses, only 2.3 per match are on target. Only two teams have had fewer accurate crosses per game -- Houston Dynamo and New York City -- and neither one of those teams is currently lighting it up in the 18-yard box.
Only two players have recorded a completed an accurate cross this season for Orlando City -- Kaká and Rafael Ramos -- and neither one of their numbers are great. Kaká averages a team-leading two crosses on target in the first three matches, but also leads Orlando with 5.3 missed crosses. Ramos averages 0.03 crosses completed per match, which comes out to only one of his crosses finding its target, and 4.3 missed crosses. Third on the list is Brek Shea, who hasn't had an accurate cross this season and averages 2.3 missed crosses per match.
The obvious observation of all the above information is this: the two players who play with the most width and the key playmaker in the attack, who often goes wide to play the ball, are not connecting with whoever the center forward might be in any given match. The two regular outside backs account for 6.7 incomplete crosses, which is a good chunk of the team's inefficiency.
Now, it's probably not fair to pick on Shea and Ramos for their inability to accurately pass it in the box. The fluid nature of who's on top of Adrian Heath's formation probably has its effect on the connectivity or lack thereof from the wide players and strikers as well. It's hard to establish a good game rhythm when all three matches have had a different striker. Positioning from the strikers hasn't been good either, with Carlos Rivas' five offside calls against NYCFC.
But if the fullbacks can effectively cross the ball, it will give Orlando City more options and allow wing players like Kevin Molino and Lewis Neal to work in the box. Teams will bottle up the midfield, knowing the attack isn't a threat out wide or penetrate the box well either. If the crosses start falling when the Lions break, the 69 percent shot rate from outside the box will drop.
Don't panic just yet Orlando City fans. Most of the Eastern Conference is struggling to score and even with four points and two goals, Orlando's still in third place. It's too early to tell what's going to happen this season but improving attacking width through more accurate crossing will help the Lions become just the third MLS expansion side to make the playoffs.
All stats courtesy of Whoscored.com